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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Expected Duration

Duration varies. Some people with anorexia nervosa have a single, relatively brief episode after experiencing an isolated stressful event. For others, the problem becomes chronic (long-lasting) and the person's condition gradually deteriorates. Many people start by restricting food, then later binge and purge. Recent research has shown that the majority of cases go away by late adolescence. But a significant number of people do have continuing problems with diet and body image into adulthood, even though the severity of the symptoms is likely to be less.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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