Definitions, signs and symptoms

An eating disorder is an extreme form of food and weight preoccupation. There are strict criteria to define clinically diagnosable eating disorders, and many eating disorders go undiagnosed. We encourage you to get support for disordered eating thoughts and behaviours, whether or not you have a clinical diagnosis.

Definitions help health professionals understand how each condition develops and progresses, and how to treat people with similar symptoms.

Eating disorder diagnostic criteria from the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) cover the following diagnoses, among others:

Anorexia nervosa
Bulimia nervosa
Binge eating disorder
Related disorders
– avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder
– body dismorphic disorder
– feeding or eating disorders not otherwise classified

For more information on signs, symptoms, and diagnoses, please visit the National Eating Disorder Information Centre’s site here.

Please note that while the DSM is used for diagnosing, these illnesses and struggles can occur along a continuum and you do not require a diagnosis to access our services. If you are struggling with disordered eating or body image and do not have a DSM diagnosis, you can still join our groups.