Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder where the person severely cuts down on the amount of food they eat, resulting in dramatic weight loss. In addition excessive exercise, purging (forced vomiting) laxatives, enemas and diuretics can be used to decrease weight.
Most often the person has an intense fear of becoming fat and has a distorted view of their body image even if they are already underweight. They will typically deny there is a problem even when it is evident to all that it is serious. They can undergo quite sudden personality and mood swings, leaving parents wondering where their lovely daughter or son has gone.
Probably the biggest single symptom of anorexia is anxiety around food. This can manifest itself by the person skipping meals, cutting out previously eaten food types and being secretive about eating or by serious conflict at meal times.
Food has become the enemy, to be avoided at all costs.