Anorexia nervosa in adolescents

Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2020 Jun 2;81(6):1-8. doi: 10.12968/hmed.2020.0099. Epub 2020 Jun 1.


Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder with peak onset in adolescence, which carries the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric illnesses. It is commonly comorbid with other physical and mental health problems, yet training on management of people with eating disorders and working knowledge of clinicians working with underweight adolescents is inconsistent. This review of anorexia nervosa in adolescents provides an overview of the presentation, aetiology and treatment of this disorder, with a particular focus on the assessment and management of physical health risks, including refeeding syndrome.

Keywords: Adolescent medicine; Anorexia nervosa; Eating disorders; Refeeding syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa / epidemiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / physiopathology*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Bradycardia / physiopathology
  • Dehydration / physiopathology
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Early Medical Intervention
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia / physiopathology
  • Incidence
  • Prognosis
  • Refeeding Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Refeeding Syndrome / therapy
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Water-Electrolyte Imbalance / physiopathology