What Increases Your Risk
The risk of developing anorexia nervosa increases if you:1, 2
- Have a family history of an eating disorder, obesity, or a mood disorder (such as anxiety or depression).
- Have certain personality traits and emotional conditions, such as perfectionism, perseverance, anxiety, or low self-esteem.
- Feel family, cultural, or social pressures related to goals such as thinness, high achievement, or perfection.
If you struggle with anxiety, have a persistent nature, and strive for perfection, you may be at risk for crossing the line from dieting to anorexia.5, 2 For some people, anorexic eating habits can meet a need for personal control and self-esteem. Some teens may fall into this pattern as a way to cope with big changes and challenges.
A parent may have cause for concern if:
- A child expresses concerns about weight at a very young age.
- A teen becomes more strict with a diet.
- A teen intensifies his or her exercise routine.