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Eur Psychiatry. 2000 Feb;15(1):38-45.

Anxiety disorders in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa: co-morbidity and chronology of appearance.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Institut Mutualiste Montsouris, Paris, France.


The objectives of the study were to assess lifetime prevalence of specific anxiety disorders, and their age of onset relative to that of eating disorders (ED), in a French sample of patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN). We assessed frequencies of seven anxiety disorders and childhood histories of separation anxiety disorder among 63 subjects with a current DSM-IV diagnosis of an ED, using the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Eighty-three percent of subjects with AN and 71% of those with BN had at least one lifetime diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. By far, the most frequent was social phobia (55% of the anorexics and 59% of the bulimics). When present, the co-morbid anxiety disorder had predated the onset of the ED in 75% of subjects with AN, and 88% of subjects with BN. Our results are consistent with those of studies conducted in other countries, and show that an anxiety disorder frequently exists before an ED. This has to be taken in consideration for successful treatment of patients with AN or BN.

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