Anorexia nervosa is when make yourself lose very serious amounts of weight. It's more than just being slim and more than just dieting - not every slim person is anorexic and nor is every dieter.
It usually starts when you are 14 or 15, and often with a bit of dieting. You think you are a bit fat or overweight and want to look like all the supermodels. You start by controlling your food, but then your diet starts to control you and you can't stop. You think you are fat even when you are very, very thin, and look as if you are starved. Nobody really knows why it happens, but there are lots of theories:
- It may be because you are depressed
- It may be because you are stressed
- It may be because you don't want to grow up
- It may be because you are scared of getting fat
- It may be a way of feeling in control
- It may be because you want other people to notice you
Not eating damages your body, but part of the problem is in the mind - how you see yourself and your body.
Anorexia is quite common - 1 in 100 teenage girls suffer from it (but only 1 in 2000 boys)