Special Talk - Purging Disorder: Recent Advances and Future Challenges

Pamela Keel, Ph.D. Florida State University
In 2013, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) included Purging Disorder (PD) as a named condition within the Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder diagnostic category. This decision reflected evidence that PD differed from bulimia nervosa (BN) on biological factors that explained the presence of large binge episodes in BN vs. their absence in PD. However, this work failed to account for the central feature of PD – purging after normal or small amounts. This talk covers recent advances revealing an array of physiological alterations that are uniquely linked to purging behaviors. As the field moves towards contemplating purging as a primary focus of treatment vs. a simple compensatory response to binge episodes, interventions can improve recovery for those with PD and the full range of eating disorders in which purging occurs.