Last night, ABC aired a segment on EDNOS ( Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified). EDNOS is a very serious illness with an estimated mortality rate of 5.2%. Although the general population may not be as accustomed to hearing this diagnosis- as opposed to bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, or binge eating disorder- EDNOS is one of the most common eating disorders.
People who struggle with EDNOS exhibit almost all of the same symptoms of anorexia, bulimia and/or BED. They are at risk for the very same dangers, such as dehydration (which is deadly), heart attacks, and death. So why would someone with such serious issues not be given a diagnosis of anorexia or bulimia? People are given the diagnosis of EDNOS because the DSM-IV (a book that treatment professionals use when coding a diagnosis) lists out specific criteria that a person must be suffering with in order to receive a specific diagnosis. For example, an individual suffering from EDNOS can show nearly all the signs and symptoms of anorexia, yet still have a normal menstrual cycle or "normal" BMI (Body Mass Index), and therefore receive a diagnosis of EDNOS.
Unfortunately, when given the diagnosis of EDNOS, sufferers and insurance companies feel like they are not sick enough to deserve treatment simply because they don't meet all of the criteria of more "well-known" eating disorders. That type of thinking is dangerous because any degree of eating disorder symptoms or thoughts is suffering enough, regardless of the diagnosis. No matter what the diagnosis, everyone deserves access to treatment and the chance to recover.
According to ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), 52 % of eating disorder sufferers may have EDNOS -and EDNOS has been shown to have the highest death rates of any category of eating disorder. With numbers this high, it is a type of eating disorder that we need to become more knowledgeable about through prevention and research, so that we can better treat those suffering from EDNOS.
Douglas Bunnell, a clinical psychologist and vice president of The Renfrew Center, spoke about the common misconceptions surrounding eating disorders, and how they are often viewed in a benign way as diets gone bad. "These are life-threatening, serious illnesses," Bunnell said. "They have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric diagnosis."
If your insurance company has denied benefits for treatment of an eating disorder, no matter what the diagnosis, we can help. Kantor & Kantor, LLP has developed a specialized legal practice representing clients whose claims for treatment of eating disorders, and dual diagnosis (substance abuse and other co-morbid conditions) have been unfairly denied by their health insurers or benefit plan. Dealing with, and seeking treatment for eating disorders can be emotionally and financially devastating. When your health insurance company gives you a hard time, or when it denies payment for benefits, matters only go from bad to worse; we are here to help things get better. For more information, contact Kantor & Kantor, LLP at (888) 569-6013or log on to Kantor & Kantor, LLP.