Eating disorders are a phenomenon affecting millions of young women in Western societies. Eating disorders are a food-related dysfunction in which a person changes her eating habits in a way that is harmful to the mind and/or body. Cultural elements are at the root of eating disorders–primarily the expectation that beauty is defined by thinness. To begin a discussion of eating disorders, it is first necessary to identify the criteria for making diagnoses and to clarify distinctions among specific eating disorders. This section presents the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for eating disorder diagnoses and introduces the prevalence rates for women.

The DSM-IV-TR Eating Disorder Criteria

The DSM-IV-TR defines the criteria for mental disorders and provides universal standards for ...

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