An Iowa researcher is studying a little-known eating disorder that some doctors may miss: purging disorder.
Though similar to women with bulimia, patients who fit this description don’t binge-eat. Yet they feel compelled to purge, usually by vomiting, even after eating only a small or normal amount of food, said Pamela Keel, the University of Iowa researcher who led a study on the subject.
Visit any pro ana board to see the purging disorder in action, such as this young woman freaking out, asking her cohorts if its ok she ate broccoli……it’s broccoli for goodness sake.
I think we have now just become so completely disordered in our eating habits we don’t even know what is “normal” anymore. No need to really binge to feel guilty, eat just a handful of grapes and its time to let it fly since pro ana’s have made eating a sin.
Keel clearly recognizes this is not a new phenomenon, stating “purging disorder is new in the sense that it has not been officially recognized as a unique condition in the classification of eating disorders. But it’s not a new problem, women were struggling with purging disorder long before we began studying it.”
On the plus side, this is a big step in terms of insurance coverage, since a new classification for purging disorders will bring with it treatment options previously not available.
Final note, the most interesting part of the study was the comparison made on cholecystokinin, the chemical in our bodies that make us feel full when eating. Women with bulimia has less of this chemical, women with purging disorder had more of this chemical, triggering a feeling of fullness.
This adds validity to the study, and shows the existence of a chemical reason some women actually feel “too full” after eating, but I can’t help but wonder how much of this is psychological.