Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Discussion about Eating Disorders

Here's some information about eating disorders (the beginning of an interview with Click here for the full interview about eating disorders.

Rebecca Aponte:When you think about eating disorders, do you think of both anorexia and bulimia? Is there a lot of overlap in people who engage in these behaviors?
Robin Rosenberg:There are people who engage in both types of behaviors. In DSM-IV, individuals who exhibit all the criteria for anorexia but who also binge and purge would be diagnosed as anorexia nervosa binge/purge type. So diagnostically, anorexia trumps bulimia, if you will. But that is just the DSM-IV; who knows what will happen in DSM-V?
RA:Are they related?
RR:They appear to be, at least for a significant subset of people. So in terms of the research, when you look at people who have bulimia versus people who have anorexia, that is not necessarily a helpful distinction. Anorexia has, in DSM-IV, two subtypes. There is the traditional restricting type, which is the people who eat minimally, and then there is the form of anorexia where people are significantly underweight and may be amenorrheic [they have stopped menstruating], but they may also binge or eat without restricting, but then purge in some way, or use other compensatory behaviors. Those people are classified as anorexia binge/purge type, but in studies, those people have more in common with people who have bulimia than they do with anorexia restrictive type. Some of this is a bit of a diagnostic artifact, because it's the way that it has been defined in DSM-IV.

The most interesting thing about eating disorders in terms of classification issues is that it is not uncommon for people to move from one eating disorder to another over time.

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