Eating disorders Information

An eating disorder is characterized by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual's physical and emotional health. The causes of eating disorders are complex and not yet fully understood. Eating disorders are estimated to affect 5-10 million females and 1 million males in the United States. Although not yet classified as separate disorder, binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States affecting 3.5% of females and 2% of males according to a study by Harvard affiliated McLean Hospital. Bulimia nervosa was the second most common followed by Anorexia nervosa.

It is not known with certainty what causes eating disorders. It can be due to a combination of biological, psychological or environmental causes.

Eating disorders are classified as Axis I disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders . Published by The American Psychiatric Association. There are various other psychological issues that may factor into eating disorders, some fulfill the criteria for a separate Axis I diagnosis or a personality disorder which is coded Axis II and thus are considered comorbid to the diagnosed eating disorder. Axis II disorders are subtyped into 3 "clusters", A, B and C.The causality between personality disorders and eating disorders has yet to be fully established. Some people have a previous disorder which may increase their vulnerability to developing an eating disorder. Some develop them afterwards. The severity and type of eating disorder symptoms have been shown to affect comorbidity. The DSM-IV should not be used by laypersons to diagnose themselves, even when used by professionals there has been considerable controversy over the diagnostic criteria used for various diagnoses, including eating disorders. There has been controversy over various editions of the DSM including the latest edition DSM-V due in May 2013.

Wikipedia, Eating disorders, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eating_disorders (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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