Support for WCEDCA Workgroup proposed changes for the DSM-V

Position Statement

The F.E.A.S.T. Board of Directors has unanimously voted to support the recommendations of the Workgroup for Classification of Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents (WCEDCA) for proposed revisions to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.

The APA’s DSM is a tool used by clinicians and researchers around the world to diagnose and study psychiatric illness. The DSM also influences public policy and consumer understanding of these complex conditions. As a parent organization, F.E.A.S.T. recognizes the importance of the DSM in how our children are treated and in how insurance and public funding for research is determined.

We applaud the work going on in the professional eating disorder treatment community to use evidence to inform the DSM revision process, and look forward to the planned DSM-V to be published in 2013.

In particular, our Board of Directors endorses the recommendations made by the WCEDCA ( http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/123276549/abstract ) that include:

  • Recognition of the dangers of malnutrition during critical periods of neural development and physical growth
  • Recognition of more severe medical consequences from eating disordered behaviors during youth than in other age periods
  • Lower and more developmentally sensitive thresholds of symptom severity in children and adolescents
  • Acknowledgement of deviation from individual growth curves as a diagnostic tool
  • Less emphasis on self-reporting of symptoms
  • Parent and other adult information as a diagnostic tool

On March 24, 2010, the F.E.A.S.T. board submitted our support for these recommendations as part of the DSM-V public comment process and we encourage others to do so as well: (http://www.dsm5.org) . The public comment period ends April 20, 2010. The WCEDCA’s recommendations represent the work of some of the leading researchers and clinicians in the eating disorder field, and include three F.E.A.S.T. Professional Advisors. We want to thank the DSM-V Working Group and the WCEDCA for their work and emphasize that these efforts have a direct and lasting impact on families around the world.