A new eating disorder?

New eating disorder?

By Charlotte Fantelli

Selective eating is a new 'mental disorder' up for consideration in the 2013 edition of The  Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-V.

Commonly thought of as a childhood phenomenon, little is known about the extent and causes of adult selective eating.

'Fussy' or 'selective' eating has been viewed over the years as something children affected with the condition would simply outgrow. However, there are more adults seeking help for this condition.

The American Psychiatric Association is considering recognising 'selective eating' as a condition that can affect adults, although they may class it under a category for conditions that don't meet the criteria for a 'major disorder'.

Selective eaters can become obsessed with one type of food. In some cases this can be a food group such as 'vegetables', but in more severe cases selective eaters may only eat one thing, as in the case of Debbie Taylor who only eats Monster Munch crisps.

Talking to The Sun Newspaper Debbie Taylor, 30, admitted "I was 11 when I last ate a proper meal. I think it was a roast dinner with vegetables. For the past ten years I have lived on nothing but beef Monster Munch crisps.

"Usually I eat three 45g bags a day - two in the afternoon and one in the evening."

Having recovered from both anorexia and bulimia in her teens, Ms Taylor started to eat selectively. She tells The Sun how her diet 'evolved' from dry roasted peanuts, to custard creams, Walkers crisps and now Monster Munch.


It is not about losing weight or any 'body image' disorder, their food selection is more usually driven by texture, taste and smell. Psychologists are seeing 'obsessive compulsion' rather than 'self image' as the driving force behind this disorder.

The poor diet Ms Taylor has, is already causing her physical health problems - she admits to bleeding gums and brittle nails. This really is the tip of the ice-burg Ms Taylor could be sailing into. Long term dietary problems like this can lead to much more serious conditions and effect every aspect of health including bone and heart problems.

We hope Ms Taylor gets the help she needs and that 'selective eaters' get the recognition and treatment options they deserve.


For more information on eating disorders please also see:

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