Eating Disorder Treatment Resource
Header Banner

Free Recovery Packet

Form Image
  • Treatment Options
  • Family Support
  • How We Can Help

    YesNoMaybe

    Blue CrossAetnaOther
    Click to Receive Free Recovery Packet

    Free Recovery Packet

    Form Image
    • Treatment Options
    • Family Support
    • Financial Support
    • How We Can Help



      YesNo

      Blue CrossAetnaOther

      Diagnosis

      An individual’s admission to having symptoms of an eating disorder is the first step in the diagnosis.  The diagnosis is not straightforward and nearly half of all cases go unnoticed.  Early diagnosis and earlier age of diagnosis are correlated with improved outcomes in patients with eating disorders.  Primary physicians serve a large section of adolescents and can play a major role in the diagnosis. 

       An initial evaluation deals with questions about symptoms, medical history, methods of controlling weight, and the amount of food normally eaten.  A physical exam is followed by routine blood work, urine testing, and other required tests to check general health.  A psychiatric evaluation is performed by a mental health provider to check symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other illnesses.  The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria are used to diagnose the type of eating disorder. 

      Diagnostic Criteria for Anorexia Nervosa:

       ·      Refusal to maintain body weight at 85 percent of expected weight

      ·      Fear of gaining weight and becoming overweight

      ·      Negative self-evaluation or denial of the seriousness of current low body weight

      ·      Amenorrhea or absence of 3 menstrual periods in menstruating females 

      Diagnostic Criteria for Bulimia Nervosa: 

      ·      Increased frequency of binge eating with a sense of loss of control

      ·      Recurrent inappropriate behavior like vomiting, increased use of laxatives, and fasting.

       ·      Negative self-evaluation that is accompanied by body weight and body shape. 

      Diagnostic Criteria for Binge Eating: 

      ·      Binge eating episodes are accompanied by a sense of loss of control

      ·      No behavioral change to prevent weight gain

      ·      The behavior is noticed for an average of three months, at least twice a week.  

      Patients who are high-risk for developing eating disorders should be screened during a routine office visit.  A thorough medical history is the best tool for diagnosis.  Early in the course of the disorder, physical examination and laboratory work might be normal with no hint of an eating disorder.  Screening questionnaires are also useful to diagnose an eating disorder.