The Updated DSM-5 Entry For Eating Disorders Signals a Deeper Understanding of These Serious Issues
By Curtis Reed
While the DSM-5 has come under fire from some corners of the treatment world, the publication of a new manual is a watershed event in the industry. Mental health issues are not static. The Oxford English Dictionary is content to add an updated entry here and there as new words emerge, while the so-called bible of psychology is only revised every fifteen or twenty years. Despite that, the body of knowledge about a variety of disorders, diseases and other mental health and behavioral issues can go through massive transformations between revisions. A perfect example is that of eating disorders.
If you or someone you know is suffering with an eating disorder, it is absolutely vital that you seek professional treatment. Eating disorders are typically accompanied by a co-occuring issue and can lead to serious medical conditions, and even death. Call Wingate Wilderness Therapy at 1-800-560-1599 for more information.
Eating Disorders Have Traditionally Gone Under-Recognized
The DSM-4, published in 1994, devoted an entry to eating disorders as a general category, but not for any eating disorders in particular. The new entry, which offers distinct descriptions rather than a one-size-fits-all category, reflects the widening body of knowledge we have of eating disorders.
For instance, binge eating is now recognized as its own distinct disorder, rather than a symptom of other disorders. It is characterized by eating well past the point of excess, often without the presence of an appetite or urgent need to eat. It is usually accompanied by feelings of shame and humiliation.
Binge eating, and most other eating disorders are often accompanied by moderate to severe depression. Most people are surprised to learn that anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental health disorder. While that is true, as a group, eating disorders are among the least likely to receive treatment compared with other mental health issues. This is because the stigma of suffering from an eating disorder is borne as a shameful burden by many victims.
The DSM-5 goes some distance in addressing the issues that are all too familiar to sufferers. Hopefully, this will help increase awareness for the 24 million people who suffer from this issue.