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Far beyond the desire to lose a few pounds, people with anorexia nervosa or AN have a life-threatening mental health disorder that causes a refusal or inability to eat, despite the increasingly negative effects this lack of nutrients has on the individual's health and well-being. Anorexia nervosa can cause many long-term impacts on both the body and the mind.

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1. Brain Shrinkage

Seven separate studies indicate that people with anorexia nervosa are likely to have reduced gray and white brain matter. The research also shows reductions in the size of various regions of the brain, particularly those involving appetite, weight loss, hormone normalization, and reward. Some of the brain damage may be permanent, but fortunately, recent studies show that post-recovery weight gain can reverse this shrinkage.

brain scan MRI doctors Nikada / Getty Images
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