You don’t have to be underweight to still have anorexia!

Once you’ve been diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, you still have it unless your symptom manifestation changes. Yep, that’s right, you can be a healthy weight and still keep the Anorexia Nervosa diagnosis you were given at a low weight as there is such thing as “remission” and “relapse”.


For example, partial remission: After full criteria for anorexia nervosa were previously met, Criterion A (low body weight) has not been met for a sustained period, but either Criterion B (intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat or behavior that interferes with weight gain) or Criterion C (disturbances in self-perception of weight and shape) is still met.


In full remission: After full criteria for anorexia nervosa were previously met, none of the criteria have been met for a sustained period of time.


That means, someone in partial remission can be weight restored but still meet the other criteria for their standing Anorexia Nervosa diagnosis.


Being weight restored while still struggling doesn’t mean your diagnosis isn’t Anorexia Nervosa anymore – it just means you’ve undergone weight restoration and/or there is another factor causing your “healthy” weight.


If someone with an Anorexia Nervosa diagnosis is a “healthy weight” but is still engaging in their disordered behaviours and meet the other criteria of Anorexia Nervosa, they’re still Anorexic!


The definition of Anorexia Nervosa:


A. Restriction of energy intake relative to requirements, leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory, and physical health. Significantly low weight is defined as a weight that is less than minimally normal or, for children and adolescents, less than that minimally expected.


B. Intense fear of gaining weight or of becoming fat, or persistent behavior that interferes with weight gain, even thought at a significantly low weight.


C. Disturbance in the way in which one’s body weight or shape is experienced, undue influence of body weight or shape on self-evaluation, or persistent lack of recognition of the seriousness of the current low body weight.


Coding Note


Restricting Type: During the last 3 months, the individual has not engaged in recurrent episodes of binge eating or purging behavior. This subtype describes presentations in which weight loss is accomplished primarily through dieting, fasting, and/or excessive exercise.


Binge-eating/purging type: During the last 3 months, the individual has engaged in recurrent episodes of binge eating or purging behavior.


THEREFORE, since Criteria B & C are still met, THE INDIVIDUAL IS STILL ANOREXIC REGARDLESS OF WEIGHT RESTORATION.


The information regarding partial and full remission is directly from the DSM-V book.

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