Journal of Neural Transmission

, Volume 111, Issue 7, pp 827-840

First online:

The need to revise the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa

  • J. HebebrandAffiliated withClinical Research Group, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Philipps University
  • , R. CasperAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • , J. TreasureAffiliated withEating Disorders Unit, Department of Psychiatry
  • , U. SchweigerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry, University of Lübeck

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Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a complex disorder of unclear etiology. We argue that the current DSM-IV criteria do not adequately describe the cardinal symptoms of this “eating disorder”. Our reasoning is based on the lack of empirical evidence supporting the terminology of some of the criteria, which underlie the core of our current conceptualisation of AN. We propose alternative criteria which allow a better integration of biologically derived hypotheses addressing the nosology and the symptomatology of AN.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa, leptin, diagnostic criteria, weight criterion, drive for activity, hyperactivity