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Diagnosis of Eating Disorders
Physical Exam and Tests
- 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.
- Screening tests, such as the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT-26), can be used to screen for symptoms of eating disorders.
Diagnosis of Anorexia Nervosa
- Calorie restrictions below nutritional requirements for age, gender, and overall physical health. This result in significantly low body weight, which is defined as less than minimally normal.
- An intense fear of gaining weight or persistent behaviors that prevent weight gain, even when body weight is significantly low.
- Negative body image and self-evaluation about weight. This continues despite having a body weight that is significantly low.
Diagnosis of Bulimia Nervosa
- Frequent occurrence of binge eating episodes accompanied by a sense of loss of control.
- Recurrent inappropriate behavior such as vomiting, use of laxatives, fasting, or excessive exercise, intended to prevent weight gain.
- Both of the above behaviors occur on average at least once a week for 3 months.
- Negative self-evaluation influenced by body shape and weight.
Diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder
- Episodes are defined by eating more food than what an average person would eat under similar circumstances in a 2-hour period.
- Episodes are associated with 3 or more of the following:
- Eating faster than normal.
- Eating until you feel overly full.
- Eating large amounts without feeling hungry.
- Eating alone because of embarrassment.
- Feelings of depression, guilt, or disgust after eating.
- No inappropriate behavior to prevent weight gain.
- The behavior occurs at least once a week, on average, for 3 months.
- There is persistent distress about binge eating habits.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2016
- Update Date: 05/18/2016