Eating disorders and eating pathology in young adult and adult patients with ESSENCE.Compr Psychiatry. 2016 Apr; 66:79-86.CP
Little is known about the prevalence and incidence of traditional eating disorders (EDs, e.g., anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder (BED)) in individuals with childhood onset neuropsychiatric disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The aim of the present study was to examine the prevalence of EDs and eating pathology in young adults and adults with ADHD and/or ASD, and to investigate the relationship between EDs and associated symptoms, on the one hand, and other psychiatric disorders, intelligence, and BMI, on the other hand, in this population.
In an outpatient setting, 228 consecutively referred adults were neuropsychiatrically evaluated and assessed with regard to intelligence (WAIS-III), psychiatric comorbidities (SCID-I), personality disorders (SCID-II), eating disorders (SCID-I) and eating pathology (Eating Attitudes Test (EAT)).
For the entire sample, a total of 18 individuals (7.9%) had a current or previous eating disorder, with AN and BED being the most frequent. The male:female ratio was 1:2.5. According to EAT, 10.1% of the individuals scored within the range of severely disturbed eating behavior, and 13% moderately disturbed eating behavior. Individuals with ADHD more often affirmed eating pathology such as focusing on thoughts of calories and body dissatisfaction compared to individuals with ASD.
Eating disorder symptomatology seems to be overrepresented in adults with neuropsychiatric disorders compared with the general population. The gender ratio for EDs in adults with neuropsychiatric disorders is not nearly as skewed as in the general population.