Understanding Eating Disorders Part 1

Understanding Eating Disorders Part 1

February 22nd through February 28th is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. To help bring awareness to these debilitating disorders, we will take a look at the different types of eating disorders as well as treatment options. There are three main types of eating disorders that are classified in the DSM-V. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge-Eating Disorder.  The first blog in this four part series will focus primarily on Anorexia Nervosa.

The diagnostic criteria for Anorexia Nervosa is as follows:

  1. Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements, leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health.
  2. Intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat, or persistent behavior that interferes with weight gain, even though at a significantly low weight
  3. Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the current low body weight.

The DSM provides further criteria depending on the subtype of the anorexia, either restricting type or binge-eating/purging type.  The restricting subtype is characterized by the individual engaging in weight loss primarily through dieting, fasting, and/or excessive exercise over the last three months.  The binge-eating/purging subtype involves recurrent episodes of binge eating or purging behavior over the previous three months.  The diagnosis is then measured for severity (from mild to extreme) based on the individual’s current body mass index (BMI) for adults, or on BMI percentage for children and adolescents.  Other considerations such as clinical symptoms, degree of functional disability, and the need for supervision may also affect severity level.

According to the National Alliance for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (www.anad.org) there are ten warning signs for someone suffering with Anorexia:

  1. Deliberate self-starvation with weight loss
  2. Intense, persistent fear of gaining weight
  3. Refusal to eat or highly restrictive eating
  4. Continuous dieting
  5. Excessive facial/body hair because of inadequate protein in the diet
  6. Compulsive exercise
  7. Abnormal weight loss
  8. Sensitivity to cold
  9. Absent or irregular menstruation
  10. Hair loss

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Washington, D.C: American Psychiatric Association.

National Alliance for Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (2015). Retrieved from: www.aand.org


Maggie Futch, Intern

  • Recent Posts

  • Categories

  • Archives