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Features of anorexia nervosa

There also appears to be a strong genetic link. Studies of twins have shown thatfor those who develop anorexia nervosa, 65% of identical twins both have anorexianervosa, compared to 32% of non-identical twins. In respect of other female siblingsof the person with anorexia nervosa, 6–10% have also been diagnosed.

Features of anorexia nervosa

A person will be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa if they have the following features:

• low bodyweight, i.e. a body mass index (BMI) score of 17.5 (kgm2) or less, or15% or more lower than expected for age and height

• self-induced weight loss – vomiting, purging, excessive exercise, use of appetitesuppressants and avoidance of ‘fattening’ foods

• body-image distortion – fear of fatness, overvalued ideas, imposed low-weightthreshold

• amenorrhoea: absence of menstrual cycle; men will report a gradual loss oflibido due to lowering of their testosterone.

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