Binge/purge symptoms and comorbidity in adolescents with eating disorders.Can J Psychiatry. 1998 Jun; 43(5):507-12.CJ
To identify the diagnostic subtypes of eating disorders (EDs), the psychiatric comorbid diagnoses, and associated specific and nonspecific psychopathology in a series of 120 adolescents undergoing standardized assessment for an ED.
Consecutive patients referred to our large pediatric hospital for ED assessment completed a semistructured diagnostic interview for children and adolescents. The following self-report scales were administered to assess specific and nonspecific psychopathology: the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), the Eating Disorder Inventory 2 (EDI-2), and the Family Assessment Measure (FAM-III) of family functioning.
Female subjects with a mean age of 14.5 years and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 18.1 comprised 93% of the sample. The restrictive subtypes of anorexia nervosa (AN) (43%) and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) (16%) were the most common diagnoses. Patients with restricting symptoms (R) could be grouped together because they were more similar to each other with respect to self-report symptoms of psychopathology than they were to patients with binge/purge (B/P) symptoms and vice versa. Patients with R endorsed significantly fewer subjective symptoms, both ED-specific and nonspecific, and rated their families functioning better than did B/P patients. Comorbid, current major depressive disorders and dysthymic disorders occurred in 66% of subjects, but depressive, dysthymic, and oppositional disorders occurred in 96% of those with B/P symptoms. Severity of the CDI was the best single discriminator between R and B/P subjects.
Adolescents with EDs in the early stage of their illness are similar to adults with EDs in the following ways: they meet the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) criteria for subtypes of EDs (excluding amenorrhea) and commonly have comorbid psychiatric disorders, especially depressive disorders. Patients with B/P symptoms can be distinguished from restricting subjects because they endorse significantly more ED-specific and nonspecific psychopathology and have a higher frequency of comorbid Axis I diagnoses (especially depressive disorders) than restricting patients. Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) occurs more commonly in adolescents with EDs associated with B/P symptoms.