“Almost Anorexic”: Just Short of Standard Diagnostic Criteria

Psychologist/professor Jennifer J. Thomas, PhD, and author/public speaker Jenni Schaefer have co-authored the new Almost Anorexic: Is My (Or Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem? This book belongs to a series from Harvard Medical School’s The Almost Effect (“ALMOST is too close to ALWAYS”), which recognizes that many people could benefit from care before certain conditions become full-blown. A book excerpt:

The truth is that the majority of people with eating disorders do not fulfill anorexia nervosa’s diagnostic requirements, nor do the countless others who loathe their bodies and struggle to eat normally. We know from clinical and personal experience that the gray area between normal eating and anorexia nervosa is home to a great deal of pain and suffering for many people. Their lives can be just as out of control, unmanageable, and miserable—if not more so—than those with anorexia. That’s why we wrote this book: to identify and provide guidance for people who struggle with forms of disordered eating that are not officially recognized and often go untreated—what some clinicians have termed ‘diagnostic orphans.’ We call this once-overlooked category almost anorexic.

Recovered sufferer (and co-author) Schaefer states in The Huffington Post: “When I was lost in my eating disorder, I waited many years in the purgatory of almost anorexia before finally getting help, which I did only when my symptoms finally met obvious diagnostic criteria.”

The “almost anorexics” are usually assigned EDNOS (Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified) per DSM-IV or OSFED (Other Specific Feeding or Eating Disorder) per the new DSM-5. These “other”-type categories often serve as barriers to getting the treatment individuals need in order to normalize their relationship with food.

The video below introduces the book:

Selected Reviews
Kitty Westin: “I wish Almost Anorexic had been written when my daughter was ‘almost anorexic.’ This book might have given us the information we needed to intervene before our daughter moved into full-blown anorexia, and it might have helped us save her life.”

Leigh Cohn, coauthor of Current Findings on Males with Eating Disorders: “Eating problems are often ignored by assessment tests, health care professionals, media coverage, insurance companies, and even the person who is suffering. This book will help millions—including men!”

Evelyn Tribole, coauthor of Intuitive Eating: “Health practitioners and clients alike will appreciate the useful tools, charts, and case studies…Ultimately, this is a guide that will help you (or a loved one) get your life back.”

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