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Do I have Anorexia? Understanding the Signs from an Eating Disorder Psychologist

Updated: Apr 25

As a fully recovered eating disorder psychologist, let me help you answer this question

Eating disorder psychologist

If you are questioning ‘do I have anorexia?’ you may be showing warning signs of the eating disorder. Anorexia is a serious and often complicated mental health condition which requires professional support. It is essential that you consult a health professional such as your GP or eating disorder psychologist if you suspect that you may have anorexia. The sooner you get professional help, the greater the potential for full recovery.


However, anorexia is not always visible externally and may not be something you or the people around you notice. It can help helpful to understand more about what anorexia is and to be able to recognise the potential warnings signs. As a fully recovered eating disorder psychologist I urge you to seek help right away if you are questioning, ‘do I have anorexia?’


To be diagnosed with anorexia an eating disorder psychologist such as myself or another health professional follow 3 specific criteria found in a manual called the DSM-5 which is used to diagnose mental health disorders (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA)).


1.     Ongoing restriction of food which ultimately leads to a low body weight- this can include skipping meals, cutting out food groups or reducing portion sizes

2.     An intense fear of weight gain or becoming fat (despite being underweight)

3.     Placing huge importance on body shape and your appearance, or even denial of your body weight


However, I want to stress that even if these criteria are not all met- you still may be struggling with a serious eating disorder and are deserving and worthy of help and support. For example, I have worked with clients in my eating disorder clinic in Sydney who are not significantly underweight and yet still have anorexia. If this sounds like you, you may have a subtype of anorexia called ‘atypical anorexia’.



What is Atypical Anorexia?


There are many people who show symptoms of anorexia but may be normal or above average weight. This is what we call ‘atypical anorexia’. Studies have shown that up to 40% of people in treatment for anorexia have atypical anorexia. If you have aptypical anorexia it does not mean that this eating disorder is any less serious than typical anorexia and yes you are also deserving and worthy of seeking help and support; eating disorders do go beyond just weight and appearance.

 To help you answer this question, I have developed a complete checklist of eating disorder symptoms, see the link below for direct access:


Embracing Recovery

Recovery from anorexia is possible with the right support and treatment. It's essential to reach out to an eating disorder psychologist or another qualified mental health professional if you suspect you may have anorexia. Remember that seeking help is not a sign of weakness but a courageous step toward healing and reclaiming your life.

If you're questioning whether you have anorexia, don't hesitate to reach out for support from an eating disorder psychologist. With their expertise and guidance, along with a strong support system, you can embark on the path to recovery, cultivate a positive relationship with food and your body, and embrace a life filled with health, happiness, and self-acceptance.


If you are interested in taking that next step and are ready to speak with an eating disorder psychologist in Sydney please get in contact with Hannah Myall, who has also fully recovered from an eating disorder and has since spent the last decade helping individuals and families work towards eating disorder recovery.

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