Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common eating disorders and is defined by a refusal to maintain appropriate body weight. Characteristics of anorexia nervosa include: an intense fear of gaining weight, distorted body image, denial of illness and amenorrhea (absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles).
There are two subtypes of anorexia nervosa—the restricting type and the binge eating/purging type. In the restricting type of anorexia, body weight is maintained by restricting food intake. In the binge eating/purging subtype, food intake is restricted, but individuals also engage in binge eating followed by purging (using strategies such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, or excessive exercise)