Purging disorder: Subthreshold variant or full-threshold eating disorder?




To review evidence of the clinical significance, distinctiveness, and prevalence of a newly characterized form of eating disorder not otherwise specified, purging disorder (PD).


Articles were identified by computerized and manual searches.


PD is a clinically significant disorder of eating that does not appear to differ meaningfully in severity from bulimia nervosa (BN). Preliminary evidence supports the distinctiveness of PD from BN, but no studies have directly examined PD in comparison with anorexia nervosa (AN). Epidemiological studies indicate that PD affects between 1.1 and 5.3% of young adult women in their lifetimes, reflecting lifetime prevalence rates comparable with those for AN and BN.


More research on PD is needed, particularly with regard to etiology, treatment, course, and outcome. Such work would be greatly facilitated by standardization of the syndrome's definition. © 2007 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2007