That’s the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that is going to be coming out. Those of you who have seen psychiatrists, psychologists, have mental health issues, have been diagnosed with a mental illness or are just simply in the know may already be aware of this. But for those who don’t know, the DSM is what psychiatrists use to diagnose mental illnesses.
I read this article:
which I found to be interesting. Basically that they’re changing a few of the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and they’re including binge eating disorder an official ED. Apparently the majority of people who have an ED are diagnosed with EDNOS. They’re loosening the diagnostic criteria so that rather than EDNOS, people get diagnosed with anorexia, bulimia or BED.
For a diagnosis of anorexia, amenorrhea (loss of menstruation in females) is not a going to be a criteria anymore. For bulimia, binge/purge episodes now have occur at least once a week as opposed to twice a week as it was before. And whereas people with BED would have been categorized as EDNOS, they will be diagnosed with BED in the future.
The changing of the anorexia criteria, that would probably make a difference. It’s an improvement as someone could fit all the other criteria but still menstruate and would be diagnosed as EDNOS but now they would be classified as anorexic. Plus, younger patients with anorexia may not have even started menstruating yet. And of course, males don’t menstruate.
I don’t see the changing of the criteria for bulimia making a lot of difference, however. Once or twice a week is not a lot of difference in terms of diagnosing. A lot of people who struggle with regular bingeing and purging do so more than twice a week anyway.
The including of BED as an official ED is definetely an improvement, as BED and COE are EDs that need to be properly recognised too so that individuals who suffer from BED or COE can get the help they need.
But, all those are just labels defined from symptoms. Labels do not define us. And symptoms are just what results from what goes on inside the head. The important thing is to treat what’s going on behind the ED.
I don’t actually know my diagnosis. I don’t know if my psychiatrist has diagnosed me. If he has, I’m not aware of it. I don’t actually know if I have bulimia nervosa or EDNOS. I suppose it doesn’t really matter as long as I’m treated for what’s going on inside my head. I do want to know though, just so I’m aware of what I actually have.
I’ve heard that they’re also changing the DSM so that the DSM-V will also mention self harm. Currently the DSM-IV only mentions self harm in the diagnosis of BPD. But obviously a lot of people who don’t have BPD also self harm. So hopefully that will also help mental health professionals in understanding self harm and that it does not necesarilly mean someone has BPD.