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Neuropsychiatr. 2010;24(3):200-8.

[Are eating disorders addictions?].

[Article in German]

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Klinische Abteilung für Psychosomatische Medizin, Universitätsklinik für Psychiatrie, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck.


The various eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, are characterized by severe disturbances in eating behavior and are seen as typical "psychosomatic disorders". The subdivision of anorexia nervosa into two subtypes, namely "anorexia nervosa restricting type" and "anorexia nervosa bulimic type" has proved to be very good. It is to be assumed that eating disorders are not a homogeneous group, and that the various subtypes of eating disorders are also heterogeneous at several levels. Co-morbid psychiatric disorders, especially affective disorders, anxiety disorders, substance-related disorders, and personality disorders, are often found in eating- disordered patients. Many anorectics of the restrictive type and orthorectics show co-morbid psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and avoidant or obsessive-compulsive personality disorders, while a co-morbidity of affective disorders, addiction, personality disorders, especially multi-impulsivity and borderline personality disorder, is frequently found in anorectics of bulimic type, bulimics, and binge eaters. Addictive behavior manifests itself in permanent preoccupation with food and eating, withdrawal symptoms, continuation of disturbed eating behavior in spite of negative consequences, loss of control, and frequent relapse. There are some indications that there is a basic psychological disturbance common to eating disorders, especially bulimia nervosa, and to substance-related disorders, namely a personality disorder with an emotional instability and multi-impulsivity. The possible associations between eating disorders and mental disorders, particularly addictions, will be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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