Dependency and Eating Disorders

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Although there has been some controversy as to whether anyone can  be” food dependent” with respect to the other eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders – the following is a list of the criteria appearing in the DSM IV (Diagnostic Manual) of the American Psychiatric Association for any and all dependencies:

  • TOLERANCE
  • WITHDRAWAL
  • MORE FOR LONGER PERIODS THAN INTENDED
  • UNSUCCESSFUL EFFORT TO CUT BACK OR CONTROL
  • SIGNIFICANT TIME TO OBTAIN OR RECOVER FROM EFFECTS
  • DECREASED ACTIVITIES DUE TO DEPENDENCY
  • CONTINUES DESPITE CONSEQUENCES

What is interesting to note is that per the APA’s guidelines, one need only demonstrate 3 of the above criteria in a span of 12 months to meet the criteria for dependency.

What you might ask yourself, or someone suffering with an eating disorder, is whether the above criteria can be applied to your relationship with food and/or dieting and exercise. When polled, virtually all of the residents at Milestones recognized a minimum of 5 or 6 of the above criteria – more than the minimum 3 required to describe dependency. In addition, those polled varied in “flavor” of disorder – covering the full spectrum of eating disorders.

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