Home > Medical/Health Commentary > Adult “Selective Eating Disorder” to be included in DSM-V?

Adult “Selective Eating Disorder” to be included in DSM-V?

December 23, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Via John Goodman comes a story at LA Weekly reporting that the next released edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders might include picky eating, or “Selective Eating Disorder.”  One of the lead researchers into the “causes and severity of the disorder” explains it thusly:

She went on to explain that these finicky eaters often reject food not because of taste, but rather because they find the look or smell unappealing or have negative physical or emotional childhood associations with food.

I know I’m only one-eighth of the way to being a medical professional and so might be missing out on something here, but it seems to me that what she’s saying is that sometimes people base their eating decisions on subjective personal preferences about the food in question.

Heaven forfend!

The implication seems to be that if you don’t like a given food for reasons other than taste, you may have a mental illness.  I wonder if that covers my avoidance of foods like deep-fried Twinkies for the sake of my health.

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  1. Jin
    December 25, 2010 at 15:58

    I agree, I’ve worked closely for extended durations with ED patients before. If I hate eggs, nobody should care as long as it doesn’t substantially affect my QOL.

    On the other hand, if studies have shown a close causative link between selective eating and eventual eating disorder, then that’s something pediatricians and parents should keep in mind. However, DSM classification is a “bit much.”

  2. Dan
    December 24, 2010 at 12:38

    OK, but the main point is that there are qualitatively different reasons why picky eaters don’t eat certain food from why most people don’t. Picky eaters have something more akin to an irrational fear. Psychiatrists shouldn’t think that picky eaters refusing to eat green food are doing so for the same reasons that some people, say, prefer salmon to trout.

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