Though a small percentage of the population is affected by the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia, the issues can be debilitating in many areas of life and can also be fatal. Continuing research into the causes and indicators of these concerns has a high priority among many within the medical and psychological communities, but as one recent study performed at Stanford University suggests, current diagnosis criteria may be lacking. The study was conducted by an instructor in adolescent medicine and specialist in eating disorders at the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, and sought to identify and understand the potential efficacy of modern diagnoses for anorexia, bulimia, and eating disorder not otherwise specified, referred to as EDNOS.
The researcher suspected that because a significant number of clients are grouped together under the EDNOS category and do not receive the same treatment as those diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia, a large number of clients may receive inadequate treatment or be lead to believe that they do not possess any serious or life-threatening issue. After following clients diagnosed with EDNOS, the researcher found that a significant number exhibited serious symptoms of malnutrition and were otherwise in need of medical or psychological care, or both, despite their categorization as less severe cases.
In particular, the work showed that some clients, such as those who had lost excessive amounts of weight very quickly due to malnutrition or other dangerous behaviors, were not given serious diagnoses because their clinical presentation for body weight did not meet diagnostic expectations –and issue the research suggests may be widespread, and must be addressed to ensure both physical and psychological health among eating disorder clients. Though parents of adolescents and children whoa re not diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia may feel relieved, the researcher points out, education and special care may still be needed.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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