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Associated Conditions (Comorbidity) of Eating Disorders

It is estimated that over half of all individuals with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa suffer from Depression, with some studies showing rates as high as 80%. Close to half of all patients with Binge-Eating Disorder tend also to be diagnosed with Depression. Part of the reason for these high rates of comorbidity is that Eating Disorders and Depressive Disorders seem to share similar biological underpinnings. Also, being severely underweight, as in Anorexia Nervosa, can itself cause depressive symptoms.

Anxiety Disorders tends to occur in over a third of people with Eating Disorders, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has been found to occur in a quarter to a third of individuals with Anorexia Nervosa. In many cases, OCD will predate and also persist after Anorexia Nervosa.

Substance Abuse, including the misuse of alcohol and illicit drugs, occurs in anywhere from a quarter to over a third of individuals with Bulimia Nervosa, and in over 10% of those with Anorexia Nervosa. There seems to be a correlation between Substance Abuse and binge-eating and purging symptoms in Eating Disorders.

Personality Disorders also occur frequently among individuals with Eating Disorders. About a third of people with Anorexia Nervosa can be diagnosed with a Cluster C Personality Disorder, especially Avoidant and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders. Individuals with Bulimia Nervosa also suffer from high rates of Cluster C Personality Disorders, and in addition, approximately 20% have Borderline Personality Disorder. Approximately 20% of Binge-Eating Disorder patients have Cluster C Personality Disorders, and about 10% have Borderline Personality Disorder.

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Course & Prevalence

Anorexia Nervosa