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DSM-5 Criteria for Anorexia


Developing accurate diagnostic criteria for eating disorders has been an evolutionary process for medical professionals, as conditions like anorexia and bulimia often have a range of symptoms that differ in severity and manifestation from person to person.

Recent changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) helped further clarify diagnostic criteria for anorexia, in particular.

In order to be considered anorexic, a person must display:

1. A consistent drop in energy intake due to a significantly low body weight (in context to what is appropriate for this person's gender, age, height, weight and physical health)

2. A disturbance in regards to one's body weight or shape, an emphasis on self-evaluation or a lack of recognition of the danger of low body weight

3. An intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, or a persistent behavior that prevents weight gain

DSM-5 changes

Some criteria for anorexia changed when the DSM-5 was published, including the omission of the word "refusal" in regards to weight maintenance - since the word implies "intention" on the part of the patient and this can be difficult to assess, states.

Additionally, the criterion for the absence of at least three menstrual cycles was also deleted, as this criterion can't be applied to certain groups, like males, premenarchal females, postmenarchal females or some females taking oral contraceptives.

Source:, eatingdisorders.orgau