November 24, 2009


Posted in Nerdiness, Past, Project: Fail, The OCD, The Round, The Why, The WTF at 10:57 am by Dagny Taggart

Not Otherwise Specified.

The LA Times wrote about binge eating, and the prospect of its inclusion as a distinct diagnosis in the American Psyciatric Association’s DSM-V.  A reason why they might not include it?

Because they don’t want obese personages, people who have clear weight problems, to view such a diagnosis as a crutch, as an excuse for being unhealthy.

While I was in college, I technically met the diagnostic criteria for both types of anorexia for… oh, I don’t know.  5 months?  At my smallest, I was at roughly two-thirds of my recommended, “normal” weight.  I attained, and maintained, this weight through a combination of highly restricted eating, with occasional bouts of purging/overexercising when family dinners required me to consume regular portions of food in front of other people.

I have also exhibited signs of binge eating and orthorexia for periods of time.

I never received professional help for my disorder.  I am, and probably always will be, in some form of recovery.  I am lucky.

Many, many people are not so fortunate.  Many of those who suffer from disordered eating need professional help, and many of them need that help to be covered by insurance.  They need established treatment plans, they may need disability coverage for periods of recovery.

The causes of eating disorders, specified or not, are not completely understood.  And personal responsibility is a huge part of recovery from any kind of mental illness – whether it be the personal responsibility required to visit a methadone clinic regularly, or to remove even over-the-counter cold medicines and sugary foods from one’s house (a not-uncommon requirement for alcoholics to remain sober), or to choose to attend talk therapy sessions rather than consume an entire jar of marmalade in less than five minutes.

But if the fundamental aspects of a diagnosis are known, and if by identifying the symptoms and making these characteristics better known, more people can become aware of their problem, or their loved one’s problem, or their patient’s problem… if even some of those can be helped, why would you hesitate? 

To protect those who would abuse the system, at the expense of those who might benefit from the research and structured treatment that would follow a more specific diagnosis?

It just doesn’t make sense.



  1. HP said,

    Arg. Yes, you are right and they are wrong. Excluding overeating from the list of disordered eating problems only serves to perpetuate societal assumptions that fat people are the way they are purely out of laziness.


  2. HP: That’s true, too – if they have the opportunity to add “binge eating” now, and choose not to, that implies that it’s less of a real medical problem than the “specific” eating disorders. Ugh.

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