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What is Purging Disorder?

What is Purging Disorder?

Purging disorder is an eating disorder that is diagnosed when a person purges to influence weight or body shape, but does not binge eat. Forced vomiting, fasting, laxatives, diuretics, enemas and excessive exercise are the main means of purging.

If you or someone you love has a purging disorder, we can help. Speak confidentially with a counselor right now by calling (888) 837-6577.

Purging disorder is not listed as an official disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Instead, it is included within the category of Other Specified Feeding and Eating disorder (OSFED). This category includes individuals with clinically significant eating disorders who do not meet criteria for one of the primary eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder. Even though it lacks its own official category, purging disorder can be just as serious as any of these other disorders. Purging disorder is also associated with elevated risk of suicide and intentional self-harm.

Purging Disorder is Difficult to Clearly Define

One of the challenges with the current diagnostic system is deciding into which category someone with a certain group of symptoms should be placed. Excessive exercise, for example, has recently been included as a potential method of purging. Even though exercise is commonly considered a healthy and socially acceptable behavior—in a way that vomiting or laxative use is not—excessive exercise can indicate a serious problem. Where exactly is the line? Research is ongoing.

Studies have shown that individuals with purging disorder often suffer other psychological disorders:

  • Up to 70 percent have a mood disorder
  • Up to 43 percent have an anxiety disorder
  • Up to 17 percent have a substance use disorder

Who Gets Purging Disorder? 

Purging disorder most commonly affects individuals in their later adolescence and early adulthood years, and most often females and people classified as normal weight or overweight. People who engage in purging and similar behaviors may be ashamed and reluctant to seek help. However, it is important for you to get professional attention—the sooner the better.

If you or a loved one is engaging in eating disorder behaviors such as vomiting, misuse of laxatives or diuretics, or excessive exercise, we can help.

The Honey Lake Clinic Difference

At Honey Lake Clinic, our experienced staff, licensed therapists, psychologists, and psychiatric specialists understand that effective treatment for eating disorders requires a multifaceted, faith-based approach, involving healing of the body, mind, and spirit. Our unique treatment programs specifically and deeply address all three spheres, offering each client his or her greatest chance at wholeness and transformative growth.

This holistic approach and a combination of key factors makes the mental health program at Honey Lake Clinic different from the others in the country.
You’ll benefit from Honey Lake’s—

  • Integration of a Bible-based approach and sound psychological principles
  • Experienced, compassionate, and highly trained clinical staff
  • Individualized treatment with a low caseload of patients per therapist
  • Practical curriculum focused on decision-making mechanics and skills
  • Emphasis on holistic healing of the mind, body, and spirit
Don’t let your struggles define you. Let Honey Lake Clinic help you regain control of your life and discover lasting transformation. Renewal can start today with a simple phone call. Honey Lake Clinic (888) 837-6577 Email or Visit