Sticks & stones may break my bones but words change a diagnosis

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is a tool health care professionals use to diagnose psychiatric disorders. To be diagnosed one must meet the minimum, strictly defined criteria as outlined in the DSM.

The 5th edition of the DSM was published on May 18, 2013 (the 4th version came out in 1994). In this newest version, they have omitted the weight requirements to be diagnosed as anorexic to encourage clinicians to use their own judgement to decide whether a patient’s weight is significantly low. In addition, in earlier versions of the DSM a requirement of amenorrhea (loss of menstrual periods for at least three month) needed to be met to diagnose anorexia nervosa, where as in the new version of the DSM it does not. This means that many people who we view as clearly having anorexia today would not have received the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa before the release of the most recent version of the DSM – based solely on some words that changed in a book.

This challenges the notion that eating disorders depend largely on ones weight or appearance and instead moves to the idea that anyBODY is capable to house a tumultuous, life robbing, eating disorder.

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