• Diagnosis of Eating Disorders

    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.
    • Initial evaluation—During the initial evaluation, your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, the amount of food you eat, and how you try to control your weight.
    • Physical exam and tests—Your doctor will give you a physical exam and check your height and weight. If you have symptoms of bulimia , she may look at your teeth to check for erosion (a sign of frequent vomiting). You will also have routine blood, urine, and other tests to check your overall health status.
    • Psychiatric evaluation—A mental health professional may perform a series of tests and evaluate you for other psychiatric conditions, such as depression and anxiety disorders , which are common in people with eating disorders. Diagnosis of a particular type of eating disorder is based on an evaluation of your symptoms using the criteria of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). Screening tests such as the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26) can be used to screen for symptoms of eating disorders.

    Diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa

    According to the DSM-IV, 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

    According to the DSM-IV, bulimia nervosa is characterized by:
    • Frequent occurrence of binge eating episodes accompanied by a sense of loss of control
    • Recurrent inappropriate behavior (ie, 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.

    Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders website. Available at: http://www.anred.com/toc.html . Accessed April 8, 2007.

    Carson RC, Butcher JN, Mineka S. Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life . 11th ed. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon; 2000.

    General information. National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Available at: http://www.anad.org/site/anadweb/content.php?type=1&id=6982 . Accessed April 8, 2007.

    National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders website. Available at: http://www.anad.org/site/anadweb/ .

    Yager J, Devlin MJ, Halmi KA, et al. Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Eating Disorders. 3rd ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2006. Available at: http://www.psych.org/psych%5Fpract/treatg/pg/EatingDisorders3ePG%5F04-28-06.pdf . Accessed April 8, 2007.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    HeartSHAPE® Test Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.