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Diagnostic criteria for eating disorders is too narrow, researchers say

April 12, 2010 |  8:33 am
Anorexia Anorexia affects about 1% of preteen and teenage girls and bulimia about 2% to 5%, according to estimates. But those numbers may minimize the true prevalence of the illnesses, researchers from Stanford University reported Monday. In a study examining the accuracy of the diagnostic criteria for eating disorders, they found the definitions may be too strict and rule out people who need treatment.
 
The researchers examined 1,310 females ages 8 to 19 with diagnoses of anorexia, bulimia or a catch-all term "eating disorder not otherwise specified." This latter category has been criticized as misleading because it could be construed by doctors, patients and family members as not as serious as the other diagnoses. In the study population, about two-thirds of the patients had been given the diagnosis of "eating disorders NOS." Still 60% of those women met medical criteria for hospitalization. This group was also sicker, on average, than patients who received the diagnosis of bulimia.
 
For example, some of the patients diagnosed as "eating disorders NOS" had been overweight but had lost a lot of weight quickly. They were still at a normal weight, which may escape the concern of family members and health professionals, the researchers said. However, some of these women had serious malnutrition.
 
The study concludes that the diagnostic criteria for eating disorders should be reevaluated. Doctors "erroneously treat these criteria in a very black-and-white way," the lead author of the study, Dr. Rebecka Peebles, said in a news release.
 
The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
 
-- Shari Roan
 
Photo credit: Edward Ruiz / For The Times
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Comments (4)

Eating disorders is a situation when individual experience severe disturbances in his or her eating behaviors, like there is extreme of reduction in their food intake or extremes in overeating. There are two types of eating disorders named Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa. It is mostly seen in stage of
adolescence or even in young adulthood. Females are more likely to have this type of disorder than males. People having eating disorders are likely to have
depression, anxiety disorder etc.

This is incredibly true! Too much weight (pardon the pun) is placed on the current diagnositc criteria when determining whether someone is "sick enough" to receive help for an eating disorder. For example, some people with anorexia may be at a normal body weight but still suffer from all the obsessions, self-loathing and body hatred, and other seriously mentally debilitating symptoms of the disease. In some instances, people suffering from anorexia incur so much metabolic damage from years of restriction that their bodies no longer lose weight when they eat extremely limited caloric amounts. Others with profound metabolic damage may find themselves actually gaining weight from restriction. All in all, I think the best diagnostic tool for whether someone needs a higher level of care for an eating disorder is the professional opinion of nutritionists, therapists, psychiatrists and physicians who know the sufferer and have experience in the field.

I'm always amazed that people don't get the con. We at Citizens Commission on Human Rights have known for a very long time that the DSM (the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual) is only a tool for psychiatry to get MONEY. Why do they want more "diseases" in the DSM? Because then they have more things to bill the insurance companies and Medicare for. Don't you wish you could get more money just by making up lies?


Really think they are a lot of kids hiding this problem from others...



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