What Are the DSM Criteria for Anorexia?

What Are the DSM Criteria for Anorexia?When people think about an anorexia diagnosis, they may think of grossly underweight girls who are too weak to stand. While this level of malnourishment is certainly possible, men and women who need help for anorexia might not yet be at that physical extreme. Mental health professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) to diagnose mental disorders, and patients must exude several behaviors before they get diagnosed. Recognizing the DSM criteria for anorexia nervosa can help you realize whether you or a loved one needs professional help to recover.

Signs for Anorexia

Some individuals may struggle with body image concerns and have one or more types of eating disorders. Furthermore, they may have these problems and not even meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia. When it comes to anorexia, the DSM lists the following criteria for someone to be diagnosed with anorexia:

  • An intense fear that he may gain weight, even though the individual is underweight or slim to start with
  • Refusing to accept that her current weight is below an acceptable range for her height and age. She may also refuse to maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Complete denial about the severity of his low body weight, or a completely distorted perception of his weight

Anorexics will not only engage in extreme calorie restriction, but they typically also engage in extreme levels of physical activity. They may work out in secret in an effort to burn more calories. Furthermore, the restricting-type of anorexia is usually related to calorie restriction and increased levels of exercise. It does not typically include binge-eating or the associated purging by way of laxative abuse or vomiting. However, binge eating and purging can occur along with anorexia, especially when there are also periods of withholding caloric intake.

How an Anorexia Diagnosis Will Help

With a professional diagnosis of anorexia, your loved one can receive the benefit of anorexia treatment. Treatment for anorexia extends beyond healing the body from malnutrition and other physical damage that an eating disorder can inflict. It also helps resolve the emotional and mental issues that drive the eating disorder and/or addiction. Many people with anorexia face at least one form of addiction; whether the addiction is to a drug that speeds up metabolism, or even to the laxatives that people abuse to further reduce calories and weight gain.

However, in an anorexia treatment facility, your loved one will benefit from therapeutic solutions that incorporate the physical, emotional and mental aspects of disordered eating. Without a healthy mind, your loved one will not be able to achieve a healthy body or a healthy perception of it, so seek professional help to restore all damage from anorexia.

Anorexia Treatment Programs

Our professional counselors can help obtain a diagnosis for anorexia, and they can also teach you what your loved one will experience in the time spent in treatment. We can even help you understand your insurance coverage or arrange a family intervention. Get help today to overcome any struggle with anorexia.