For clinicians, the “official” diagnosis of an eating disorder is made by using the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel V Edition (DSM-V). While the official diagnostic criteria is found in the DSM-V, there may be tremendous variations in the presentation of an individuals eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a disorder in which individuals exhibit significant weight loss and extreme restrictions in their food intake. It is estimated that 1-2.2% of the population meet criteria for anorexia nervosa. Specific criteria for the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa includes:
Categorized as severe restriction of food intake with the absence of binge-eating or purging behaviors.
Categorized as engaging in binge eating or purging behavior while also exhibiting behaviors meeting criteria for anorexia nervosa. Purging is characterized as a way to eliminate food from your body either through self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise, or through laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.
Bulimia nervosa (BN) is a disorder in which individuals eat excessive amounts of food in a short period of time and afterwards eliminate this food from their body through some type of purging behavior. It is estimated that 1.1 to 4.2% of the female population suffers from BN.
Criteria for diagnosis of bulimia nervosa include:
The binge eating and compensatory behaviors occur, on average, at least once a week for a period of at least 3 months.
Self-evaluation is significantly influenced by weight and body shape.
Recurrent episodes of binge-eating without the use of inappropriate compensatory mechanisms found with bulimia nervosa.
Formally feeding disorder of infancy or early childhood with expanded criteria and not limited to children (can be diagnosed in adults). Criteria includes a lack of interest/avoidance of food based on sensory characteristics or aversion to consequences with failure to meet nutritional and energy needs.
Repeated regurgitation of food over a period of at least 1 month. Does not occur exclusively with an eating disorder.
Recurrent episodes of night awakenings from sleep with compulsive eating, often with no recollection of the event the next day.
Pica is the persistent eating of nonnutritive substances at an age where the behavior may be considered inappropriate. Individuals with pica have been reported to mouth and/or ingest a wide variety of nonfood substances, including, but not limited to, clay, dirt, sand, stones, pebbles, hair, feces, lead, laundry starch, vinyl gloves, plastic, pencil erasers, ice,foam rubber, fingernails, paper, paint chips, coal, chalk, wood, plaster, light bulbs, needles, string, cigarette butts, wire, and burnt matches.