Other Disorders of Childhood

  • Steven G. Vandenberg
  • Sandra Manes Singer
  • David L. Pauls


Although described more than a century ago (Gull, 1874), it is only in recent years that the attention of the mental health professions and the general public has become focused on two abnormal eating patterns: anorexia nervosa and bulimia. These disorders are frequently included in literature devoted to childhood problems because both most often originate early in adolescence, although they may persist into adult life. Anorexia nervosa is described in the DSM-III (1980, pp. 67-68) as follows:

The essential features are intense fear of becoming obese, disturbance of body image, significant weight loss, refusal to maintain normal body weight, and amenorrhea (in females). The disturbance cannot be accounted for by a known physical disorder. (The term “anorexia” is a misnomer, because loss of appetite is usually rare until late in the illness).

Individuals with this disorder say they “feel fat” when they are of normal weight or even emaciated. They are preoccupied with their body size and often gaze at themselves in a mirror. At least 25% of their original body weight is lost, and a minimal normal weight for age and height is not maintained. The weight loss is usually accomplished by a reduction in total food intake, with a disproportionate decrease in high carbohydrate and fat-containing foods, self-induced vomiting, use of laxatives or diuretics, and extensive exercising. The individual usually comes to medical attention when weight loss becomes significant. When it becomes profound, physical signs such as hypothermia, dependent edema, bradycardia, hypotension, lanugo (neonatallike hair), and a variety of metabolic changes occur. Amenorrhea often appears before noticeable weight loss has occurred.


Anorexia Nervosa American Psychiatric Association Eating Binge Tourette Syndrome Physical Disorder 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven G. Vandenberg
    • 1
  • Sandra Manes Singer
    • 2
  • David L. Pauls
    • 3
  1. 1.University of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  2. 2.University of Southern IndianaEvansvilleUSA
  3. 3.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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