How To Recognize The 6 Stages Of Anorexia In Your Daughter

How To Recognize The 6 Stages Of Anorexia In Your Daughter

While researching this topic, I was confronted by advertisements that stated, “Date hot, single girls now!” with some skinny “babe” wearing just enough to cover her breasts beneath the words.

What girl wouldn’t respond, “Wow, if I looked at that, maybe someone would want to date me too.”

That is exactly why anorexia exists. Anorexia’s source is all around us—plastered all over the internet, on magazine shelves at the grocery store, on billboards. There is a standard of beautiful that most women would never be able to achieve without the miracle of Photoshop.

It is easy for our daughters to see that dating advertisement and wonder, “Is it because I am not as skinny as her that none of the boys are interested me?” And once that thought takes hold, it could lead straight into the trap of anorexia.

Below are the six stages of anorexia. Be watchful for the signs. Stop it at the beginning. Stages of Anorexia:

  1. Exercise Excessively.  At first it may seem like your daughter is suddenly health-oriented. You may assume she’s just training for a new sport. But she will become obsessive about her exercise. The daily regimen will become longer and more rigorous.
  2. Obsessing about Food.  Next, your daughter may turn to food to aid her weight loss. She’ll look for foods that will help her have more energy for her work out. She may talk about what she ate or how long it has been since she had last eaten.
  3. Counting Calories.  She will resort to obsessively counting calories in order to lose weight. At this stage, it may already be weeks or months into her obsessive behavior. By now, she may begin to look unhealthy. She will look pale and have shadows under her eyes. She will play with food, or chew it and spit it out.
  4. Obsessed with Appearance in Mirror and Social Isolation.  She will constantly look in the mirror and check how many rips she can count. In order to hide this behavior, she’ll start to push others away by eating alone and socially isolating herself.
  5. Out of Control.  This stage is when the disorder is no longer in the victim’s control. She may count how many days she can starve herself before she passes out. This is typically when the family begins to notice that something is seriously wrong.
  6. Downward Spiral.  The victim continues to deteriorate. Things steadily become worse with fainting spells, bloody noses, extremely thin body, and no energy.

Dangers of Anorexia

The severe weight loss can cause a number of dangerous symptoms. In females, menstruation may cease all together. The longer she does not have a period, the higher likelihood for osteoporosis, as the period, and the associated hormones, is essential for building bones in women. Not only this, but anorexics often become infertile.

Fat is essential for most bodily functions. And when there isn’t enough, there are major problems. Heart failure, seizures, stunted growth, and multi-organ failure are all strong possibilities during anorexia.


When you see the signs, remember that intervention is vital. The sooner you can cut off the cycle, the more likely and more quickly that your daughter will be able to recover. There are many options for therapy and recovery. After she has initially recovered, it will be a struggle for some time. Perhaps, if her anorexia originated from other mental disorders, a place like Discovery Academy, or DA , could help her have constant support.

Jennifer Mathis is a freelance article provider who specializes in medical-related articles. She’s currently writing for Discovery Academy, a therapeutic boarding school.