What is the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities in anorexia nervosa?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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Using nationally representative, face-to-face interview surveys of 10,123 adolescents in the continental United States, Swanson et al found that the majority of those with an eating disorder met the criteria for at least 1 other lifetime DSM-4 disorder, as follows [16] :

  • Anorexia nervosa (55.2%)

  • Bulimia nervosa (88%)

  • Binge-eating disorder (83.5%)

  • Subthreshold anorexia nervosa (69.8%)

  • Subthreshold binge-eating disorder (70.1 %)

Psychiatric and somatic comorbidities have been found to worsen the outcome of patients with eating disorders. Psychiatric comorbidities are common with anorexia nervosa, with the following lifetime incidences [66] :

  • Depression (15-60%)

  • Anxiety disorders (20-60%)

  • Substance abuse (12-21%)

  • Personality disorders (20-80%)

Obsessionality and impulsivity in individuals with anorexia nervosa correlate with a lower lifetime BMI, reflecting poorer long-term outcomes, and can be measured with the Yale-Brown-Cornell Eating Disorder Scale (YBC-EDS). [67]

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