Disordered Eating

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Disordered eating is a classification (within DSM-IV-TR, used in the health-care field) to describe a wide range of irregular eating behaviors that do not warrant a diagnosis of a specific eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Affected people may be diagnosed with an eating disorder not otherwise specified. A change in eating patterns can also be caused by other mental disorders (e.g. clinical depression), or by factors that are generally considered to be unrelated to mental disorders (e.g. extreme homesickness).

Some people consider disordered-eating patterns that are not the result of a specific eating disorder to be less serious than symptoms of disorders such as anorexia nervosa. Others note that individual cases may involve serious problems with food and body image. Additionally, certain types of disordered eating can include symptoms from both classic cases of anorexia and bulimia, making disordered eating just as dangerous.

Some counselors specialize in disordered-eating patterns. The recognition that some people have eating problems that do not fit into the scope of specific eating disorders makes it possible for a larger proportion of people who have eating problems to receive help.

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