“If your motivations regarding food and exercise are based on ‘psychic’ rather than ‘physical’ needs, you need to know that your struggle is important, and worthy of seeking out appropriate medical and/or therapeutic assistance.” –Constance Rhodes, Life Within the Thin Cage
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 4th Edition there exists a type of eating disorder , known as EDNOS, that does not meet the specific criteria for the two defined disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
When people exhibit behaviors in the spectrum of disordered eating but do not meet all the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia, they are given a diagnosis of an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Over one-half to two-thirds of people diagnosed with an eating disorder fall into the category of EDNOS. More people are diagnosed with EDNOS than Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia combined.
Binge eating disorder is a type of EDNOS
Bing Eating Disorder (BED) is the only type of eating disorder under the category of EDNOS. A person meets the definition of having EDNOS if they have exhibit all the criteria for Anorexia Nervosa but have regular menstruation or a normal body weight, or if they exhibit all the criteria for Bulimia but purge less than two times per week or for a duration shorter than three months, or if only small amounts of food are purged, or if a person spits out food rather than swallowing it.
EDNOS just as serious as other eating disorders
People diagnosed with EDNOS can experience the same negative psychological, social, and physical consequences as a person diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia. The seriousness of their condition is no different than that for people diagnosed with specific disorders. The only difference is that the person may experience a spectrum of disordered eating behaviors and these behaviors may change over time.
Although BED is the only eating disorder categorized under EDNOS, people who are considered to have Sub Therapeutic Anorexia Nervosa or Sub Therapeutic Bulimia are also given a diagnosis of EDNOS. To have Sub Therapeutic Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia means that a person displays some but not all of the criteria for the full-blown condition.
Treatment for EDNOS is similar to that of Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia.
detail from the mural ‘Anorexia Y Tabaquismo’ by Jorge Figueroa Acosta