A new eating disorder classification?
The New York Times covers a research article published this month which proposes a new eating disorder: Purging Disorder. It seems to be distinct from bulimia, which also has purging features, and anorexia, which also may have purging features. What makes Purging Disorder distinct is that people don’t eat too much and purge which is the classic bulimia profile. They eat normally, but have the impulse to purge.
Keel’s research, conducted from 2001-05, was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The study looked at 90 women: 20 women had symptoms of purging disorder, 37 had bulimia and purged after binge-eating, and 33 had no eating disorders. Each woman was interviewed about her eating habits, drank a liquid meal and had blood drawn before and after the meal.
Keel said there were significant differences in the groups when it came to satiety, or feeling full.
In response to the liquid meal, women with purging disorder and those who had no eating disorder had similar levels of a chemical called cholecystokinin. It is released from the upper tract of the small intestine and appears to signal people to stop eating.
”That makes sense, because in terms of eating patterns, women with purging disorder are not actually eating more” than the women who had no eating disorder, Keel said. The bulimic women had lower levels of the chemical.
The women with purging disorder said they felt much more full after the test meal, and they reported more stomach discomfort than the bulimic women and the women with no eating disorders.