A University of Iowa professor is making the case for new eating disorder. Psychology professor Pamela Keel says currently in the field of mental health, there are only two officially recognized eating disorders; bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. Keel believes there may be a need for a third classification she calls purging disorder. She says individuals with purging disorder eat normal or small amounts of food and then purge, often by vomiting.
Keel says women with purging disorder don’t meet the criteria for anorexia nervosa, because they are not underweight, and they don’t meet criteria for bulimia nervosa, because they don’t have large binge eating episodes. She says there may be as many woman with purging disorder as there are with bulimia nervosa, but until now, they’ve been ignored in eating disorder studies.
Keel says there are separate treatments for bulimia and anorexia – and there may be a need for a separate treatment for purging disorder. "Separately purging disorder gives us the opportunity to try to find treatments that would specifically work in that group," Keel says, "treatments that may differ than what would be used for another kind of eating disorder." Keel is seeking participants for a follow-up study. More information about participating is available by calling toll-free 866-4MY-BODY (866-469-2639).