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J Psychosom Res. 1998 Mar-Apr;44(3-4):385-405.

Binge eating disorder: treatment outcome over a 6-year course.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Munich, Germany.


Little is known about the long-term course of binge eating disorder (BED). The aim of the study was to assess the 3- and 6-year course and outcome of 68 consecutively treated females with BED. Their mean age was 29.3 years and they were assessed longitudinally at four timepoints: (1) beginning of therapy; (2) end of therapy; (3) 3-year follow-up; and (4) 6-year follow-up. Self rating as well as expert ratings were used for assessment. Symptoms of specific eating disorder as well as general psychopathology were measured. The general pattern of results over time was as follows: substantial improvement during therapy; slight (in most cases nonsignificant) decline during the first 3 years after the end of treatment, and further improvement and stabilization in years 4, 5, and 6 after the end of treatment. At the 6-year follow-up, the majority showed no major DSM-IV eating disorder, 5.9% had BED, 7.4% had shifted to bulimia nervosa (purging type) (DSM-IV), 7.4% were classified as ED-NOS, and one patient died. Based on an operationalized global outcome score for the complete sample, 57.4% had good outcome, 35.3% intermediate outcome, 5.9% poor outcome, and one person (1.4%) died. BED and BNP patients showed very similar intermediate and long-term course in self ratings as well as expert ratings.

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