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Subtyping eating disorders: is it justified?

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1
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

DSM-IV subtypes anorexia nervosa by the presence or absence of bulimic symptoms. Assessing whether bulimic symptoms are related to the probability of recovery can provide justification for subtyping of anorexia.

METHOD:

Two hundred twenty-five treatment-seeking women with anorexia and/or bulimia nervosa were interviewed every 3 months for up to 4 years. Survival methods were used for analyses.

RESULTS:

Less than half of the entire cohort recovered; however, the great majority of the women became less symptomatic over time. Contrary to findings from previous studies, bulimic anorexics had a higher rate of recovery than restricting anorexics.

CONCLUSION:

Differences in course provide some support for the subtyping of anorexia nervosa. Additional prospective studies are needed before subtyping can be warranted.

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