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The DSM-IV scheme for classifying eating disorders is a poor reflection of clinical reality. In adults it recognises two conditions, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, yet these states are merely two presentations among many. As a consequence, at least half the cases seen in clinical practice are relegated to the residual diagnosis 'eating disorder not otherwise specified'. The changes proposed for DSM-5 will only partially succeed in correcting this shortcoming. With DSM-6 in mind, it is clear that comprehensive transdiagnostic samples need to be studied with data collected on their current state, course and response to treatment. Only with such data will it be possible to derive an empirically based classificatory scheme that is both rooted in clinical reality and of value to clinicians.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





8 - 10


Adolescent, Adult, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Feeding and Eating Disorders, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Young Adult