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Anorexia Linked to Adult Mental Problems

A long-term study matching 51 teenagers with anorexia nervosa with 51 teenagers without the eating disorder has produced interesting results.

The cohort study, which began in 1985, has compared the two groups several times as the years have passed.

“This study is unique in an international perspective. It is the only study in the world that reflects the natural course of anorexia nervosa in the population,” says Elisabet Wentz, Associate Professor in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Anorexia nervosa is one of the most common psychiatric disorders among young women, with 1 percent of all teenage girls and 0.1 percent of boys suffering from the condition.

Three women still have not recovered from anorexia, 18 years after the start of the study. Thirteen people, or around 25 percent, are on disability benefit or have been signed off sick for more than six months due to an eating disorder or other psychiatric disorder.

Thirty-nine percent have at least one other psychiatric disorder, in addition to the eating disorder. The most common of these is obsessive-compulsive disorder.

But the results also contain some positive surprises.

“Previous studies have shown that anorexia is a diagnosis with a very poor prognosis, with as many as one in five patients dying as a result of the disease. In contrast, we have not had a single death among the subjects of our study,” Wentz said.

Other studies also have shown that infertility is a common complication for adult women who have had anorexia, as are increased risks of giving birth prematurely and of postnatal depression.

The women in the two groups in this study have had essentially the same number of children, but the women who have had anorexia were younger when they had their first child. Such children had a lower birth weight than children of women in the control group.

“None of the women who had had children still suffered from an eating disorder, but it is still more common that they worry about whether their babies are putting on weight,” Wentz said.

The research group has published new results from the study in two scientific journals: the British Journal of Psychiatry and the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Source: University of Gothenburg

Anorexia Linked to Adult Mental Problems

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Anorexia Linked to Adult Mental Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 19, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/03/27/anorexia-linked-to-adult-mental-problems/5007.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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