Eating disorders are serious conditions related to persistent eating behaviors that negatively impact one’s health, one’s emotions and ability to function in important areas of life. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorders.
Binge Eating Disorder-
Binge eating disorder is defined as recurring episodes of eating significantly more food in a short period of time than most people would eat under similar circumstances, with episodes marked by feelings of lack of control. Someone with binge eating disorder may eat too quickly, even when he or she is not hungry. The person may have feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or disgust and may binge eat alone to hide the behavior. This disorder is associated with marked distress and occurs, on average at least once a week over three months.
This change is intended to increase awareness of the substantial differences between binge eating disorder and the common phenomenon of overeating. While overeating is a challenge for many Americans, recurrent binge eating is much less common, far more severe, and is associated with significant physical and psychological problems.
Binge eating disorder was approved for inclusion in Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders -5 as its own category of eating disorder. In DSM-IV, binge eating disorder was not recognized as a disorder but rather was asked to provide further studies and was diagnosable using only the catch - all category of “eating disorder not otherwise specified”
Anorexia Nervosa, which primarily affects adolescent girls and young women, is characterized by distorted body image and excessive dieting that leads to severe weight loss with a pathological fear of becoming fat. The criteria have several minor but important changes;
Criterion A focuses on behaviors, like restricting calorie intake, and no longer includes the word “refusal” in terms of weight maintenance since that implies intention on the part of the patient and can be difficult to assess. The DSM-IV criterion D requiring amenorrhea, or the absence of at least three menstrual cycles, will be deleted. This criterion cannot be applied to males, pre-menarchal females, females taking oral contraceptives and post-menopausal females. In some cases, individuals exhibit all other symptoms and signs of anorexia nervosa but still report some menstrual activity.
Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating followed by inappropriate behaviors such as self- induced vomiting to avoid weight gain. DSM-5 criteria reduce the frequency of binge eating and compensatory behaviors that people with bulimia nervosa must exhibit, to once a week from twice weekly as specified in DSM-IV
Rumination disorder is repeatedly and persistently regurgitating food after eating, but it’s not due to a medical condition or another eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder. Food is brought back up into the mouth without nausea or gagging, and regurgitating may not be intentional. Sometimes regurgitated food is rechewed and swallowed or spit out.
The disorder may result in malnutrition if the food is spit out or if the person eats significantly less to prevent the behavior. The occurrence of rumination disorder may be more common in infancy or in people who have an intellectual disability.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
This disorder is characterized by failing to meet your minimum daily nutrition requirements because you don’t have an interest in eating; you avoid food with certain sensory characteristics, such as color, texture, smell or taste; or you’re concerned about the consequences of eating, such as fear of choking. Food is not avoided because of fear of gaining weight.
The disorder can result in significant weight loss or failure to gain weight in childhood, as well as nutritional deficiencies that cause health problems.
An eating disorder can be difficult to manage or overcome by yourself. Eating disorders can virtually take over your life. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, or if you think you may have an eating disorder, seek medical help
Unfortunately, many people with eating disorders may not think they need treatment. If you’re worried about a loved one, urge him or her to talk to a doctor. Even if your loved one isn’t ready to acknowledge having an issue with food, you can open the door by expressing concern and a desire to listen.
This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Shrushti Mehta.
We thank her for her research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about health and nutrition being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.