Anorexia Nervosa: HOMEPAGE

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In this resource we will enable you to explore Anorexia Nervosa in men, definitions of different eating disorders in accordance with the ICD-10 and DSM-5 and the symptoms associated with the diagnosis.

You will find short quizzes which will enable you to test your knowledge on the various symptoms associated with Eating Disorders and the differences between men and women.

This e-learning should take 30 – 45 minutes to complete however we have made some suggestions for further reading if you wish to explore this topic further.

The resource will

  • Provide an introduction to Anorexia Nervosa and definitions of Eating Disorders from the DSM- 5 and ICD-10.
  • Provide a personal account of Anorexia Nervosa.
  • Highlight the potential cognitive and physical effects of Anorexia Nervosa.
  • Identify the differences between men and women.
  • Provide an overview of a male’s experience of Anorexia Nervosa.
  • Further reading.

What is Anorexia Nervosa?

Defining Anorexia Nervosa can be very difficult as the illness can be much more complicated than simple starvation/food restriction due to body image concerns. The definition below has been adapted from Treasure and Alexander, (2013).

Anorexia Nervosa is a mental health condition where the individual struggles to maintain a healthy weight. Gaining weight is an alarming prospect and can lead to a number of further behaviours which endanger health. For the person with anorexia nervosa weight loss and their other behaviours linked to the illness becomes a way of life with no end.

Medical conditions such as Anorexia Nervosa are classified under either the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, (DSM-5) or the International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision (ICD-10). These are the two international systems for classifying the illness in the US and World Health Organization’s (WHO) member nations (commonly used across European countries).

Behavioural syndromes associated with physiological disturbances and physical factors (ICD-10 1993 V:2019)

F 50 Eating Disorders

Anorexia nervosa

Atypical anorexia nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

Atypical bulimia nervosa

Overeating associated with other psychological disturbances

Vomiting associated with other psychological disturbances

Other eating disorders

Eating disorder unspecified


The American Psychiatric Association, (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) uses the following criteria for classification of anorexia using the following criteria.

  • Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health.
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, or persistent behaviour that interferes with weight gain, even though at a significantly low weight.
  • Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the current low body weight.

The DSM 5 also classifies two subtypes of Anorexia Nervosa which people need to be aware of. The first sub/type is Restrictive (this is simply starving oneself) the second Binge/Purge refers to periods where suffers as well as restricting calorific intake will “binge” on food. They will also purge themselves though using methods such as excessive exercise, laxatives, diuretics, vomiting or drugs.

The term binge can be confusing because of its connotations with Bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder (BED). A binge in normal usage of the word refers to the indulgence of an activity, normally, but not always an over-indulgence. In bulimia or BED a binge would be classified as significant number of calories consumed in one go, perhaps in the region of a daily intake or more. (As definitions have changed the actual number of calories that constitute a binge has been removed and it is more a subjective decision of the practitioner). In cases of anorexia a binge could be as little as a biscuit or two which is eaten outside of scheduled mealtimes and it is much more about the anorexic’s thoughts that they have overeaten or indulged rather than them physically having done so.


American Psychiatric Association, (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). 5th ed. Washington DC: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Treasure, J., & Alexander, J. (2013). Anorexia nervosa a recovery guide for sufferers, families and friends (2nd ed.). London ; New York: Routledge.

World Health Organization. (1993). The ICD-10 classification of mental and behavioural disorders diagnostic criteria for research. V 2019. Geneva: World Health Organization.