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21 April 2009

How is anorexia diagnosed?

Intense fear of gaining weight, and disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight is experienced, are some of the features of anorexia nervosa. How is a diagnosis made?

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Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat and disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight is experienced are some of the features of anorexia nervosa. How is a diagnosis of this disorder made?

  • Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height (for instance, weight loss leading to maintenance of body weight less than 85% of that expected; or failure to make expected weight gain during period of growth, leading to body weight less than 85% of that expected).
  • Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, even though underweight.
  • Disturbance in the way in which one's body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or denial of the seriousness of the current low body weight.
  • In postmenarcheal females, amenorrhea - in other words, the absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles. (A woman is considered to have amenorrhea if her periods occur only following hormone, for example oestrogen, administration.)

Specify type:

  • Restricting type: during the current episode of anorexia nervosa, the person hasn't regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behaviour (self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas).
  • Binge-eating/purging type: during the current episode of anorexia nervosa, the person has regularly engaged in binge-eating or purging behaviour (self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas).

Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders

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