Munson Health
 
Diagnosis of Eating Disorders

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by Scholten A
 
The first step in diagnosis is admitting that you have symptoms of an eating disorder. You may need support and encouragement from others before seeking help.

Diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by:
  • An intense fear of gaining weight
  • A refusal to maintain adequate nutrition, often associated with an erroneous image of the self as fat
  • Loss of original body weight to 85% or less of what is expected for normal height and weight
  • Disturbance of body image and negative self-evaluation
  • Absence of at least three consecutive menstrual periods in females who have started menstruating

Diagnosis of Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is characterized by:
  • Frequent occurrence of binge eating episodes accompanied by a sense of loss of control
  • Recurrent inappropriate behavior such as vomiting, use of laxatives, fasting, or excessive exercise, intended to prevent weight gain
  • Both of the above behaviors occur at least twice a week, on average, for three months
  • Negative self-evaluation influenced by body shape and weight

Diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is characterized by:
  • Binge eating episodes accompanied by a sense of loss of control
  • No inappropriate behavior to prevent weight gain
  • The behavior occurs at least twice a week, on average, for three months
 

References


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4th ed. Text Revision. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000.


About eating disorders. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders website. Available at: http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders . Accessed July 11, 2013.


Yager J, Devlin MJ, et al. Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Eating Disorders. 3rd ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2006. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=9318 . Accessed July 11, 2013.

 

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