Thursday, 20 September 2007

You don't have to binge to purge

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Purging disorder is not yet officially classified as an eating disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), but it is a very real problem for some women. People suffering from purging disorder do not binge on large amounts of food. Rather, they feel the urge to vomit after eating a small or normal-sized meal.

Iowa researcher and psychology professor, Pamela Keel, studied 90 women from 2001-05, published in this month's Archives of General Psychiatry. Twenty had symptoms of purging disorder, 37 were bulimic and 33 ate normally. Turns out women with purging disorder reported feeling significantly more full after a test meal and had more stomach discomfort than women with bulimia and normal eaters. They also were challenged by the anxiety, depression and body image problems faced by women with bulimia.

Many eating disorders do not fulfill all the APA's criteria for anorexia and builimia, which impacts diagnosis, treatment and eligibility for insurance reimbursement. Keel is embarking on another study examining the disorder. This study only examined women. I wonder if purging disorder strikes men?

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