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Int J Eat Disord. 2009 May;42(4):375-8. doi: 10.1002/eat.20627.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity symptoms and disorder in eating disorder inpatients.

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  • 1Laureate Research Center and Department of Psychiatry, University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA.



The objective of this study was to determine the prevalence of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms and a DSM-IV ADHD diagnosis in women admitted for treatment of an eating disorder.


One hundred eighty-nine inpatient women with an eating disorder were interviewed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) and ADHD interview from the Multi-international Psychiatric Interview (MINI).


Twenty-one percent of the sample reported at least six current ADHD symptoms, but the estimated prevalence rate for a diagnosis of ADHD in this population was only 5.8% (95% CI: 2.6%-9.5%). Most current ADHD inattentive symptoms appeared after childhood suggesting late-onset non-ADHD origins. Current inattention symptoms in those without a diagnosis of ADHD correlated with higher BMI (p < .0001), symptoms of bulimia nervosa and current level of depression symptoms (p = .025).


Although current ADHD symptoms were commonly endorsed in this population, clinicians should carefully examine for childhood symptom-onset of ADHD.

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