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Eat Weight Disord. 2012 Sep;17(3):e185-93.

Lifetime and recent DSM and ICD psychiatric comorbidity of inpatients engaging in different eating disorder behaviours.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Sydney, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, NSW, Australia.



Previous studies investigating psychiatric comorbidity in eating disorder (ED) patients compared groups according to ED diagnoses. The current paper compared groups according to ED behaviours: self-induced vomiting, objective binge eating, excessive exercising, and to body mass index (BMI, kg/m(2)) for selected psychiatric comorbidity using two systems: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) and International Classification of Diseases - Tenth Revision (ICD-10) diagnoses.


Two hundred and twenty-six patients admitted for treatment in a specialised Eating Disorders Unit completed the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI). Lifetime and recent (12 months) psychiatric diagnoses were produced according to DSM-IV and ICD-10. Associations between presence of ED behaviours or BMI and psychiatric comorbidity were investigated.


Eighty-eight percent of patients had a lifetime history (72% recent history) of at least one comorbid diagnosis (regardless of diagnostic system). Agreement between the systems was high for mood (affective) disorders and moderate for anxiety/somatoform disorders. Significantly more patients who vomit had lifetime and recent mood (affective) disorders (DSM-IV and ICD-10). Significantly more 'vomiters' had recent anxiety disorders (DSM-IV) and neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders (ICD-10) including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD; DSM-IV and ICD-10). More patients with BMI >17.5 kg/m(2) had lifetime and recent mood (affective) disorders and lifetime PTSD (DSM-IV and ICD-10). The results for 'excessive exercisers' varied and appeared inconsistent. There were no differences in any disorders for objective binge eaters.


Patients who induce vomiting have more psychiatric comorbidity than 'non-vomiters', both lifetime and recent, and may benefit from diagnostic recognition as a separate group, for example 'vomiting' or 'purging' ED, who can then receive specialist treatment for their comorbidity and associated problems.

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