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Compr Psychiatry. 1995 Jan-Feb;36(1):61-9.

Anorexia nervosa 6 years after onset: Part I. Personality disorders.

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  • 1University of Göteborg, Child Neuropsychiatry Clinic, Sweden.


Fifty-one adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa (AN) cases recruited after community screening were compared with 51 age-, sex-, and school-matched cases with regard to personality disorders and autism-spectrum disorders (ASD)/empathy disorders at age 21 years. All 102 cases had originally been examined at a mean age of 16 years, slightly over a year after the reported onset of the eating disorder. Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-III-R (SCID) interviews were performed by a psychiatrist blind to the original eating disorder diagnosis. Most of the former AN cases were recovered with respect to weight, but the outcome in social areas was restricted. Personality disorders coded on axis II in the DSM-III-R and empathy disorders were much more common in the AN group than in the comparison (COMP) group. Obsessive-compulsive (OCD) and avoidant personality disorders were particularly common. Obsessive-compulsive behaviors showed a high degree of stability over time and were unrelated to weight problems. Together with empathy disorder, they tended to predict outcome better than the eating disorder as such. It is concluded that in some cases, AN may be seen to reflect but one axis I diagnosis occurring in the life of an individual with a chronic personality disorder.

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