Does the frequency of anxiety and depressive disorders differ between diagnostic subtypes of anorexia nervosa and bulimia?

Int J Eat Disord. 2006 Dec;39(8):772-8. doi: 10.1002/eat.20274.


Objective: The objective of the present work is to determine whether the prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders varies in subgroups of eating disorders (ED) according to age, ED duration, mode of care provision, and body mass index (BMI).

Method: Using the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), the frequency of anxiety and depressive disorders was evaluated in 271 ED participants. Their prevalence was compared in subgroups of anorexics (AN-R and AN-BN) and bulimics (BN), both before and after controlling for potential confounding variables.

Results: Current or lifetime comorbidity of anxiety and depressive disorders did not differ between AN-R and AN-BN groups. Social phobia, panic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) were significantly more frequent in AN-BN and AN-R groups. Panic disorder was more frequent in the BN group.

Conclusion: Several confounding factors, in particular those identified in the present study, may explain previous conflicting results on the frequency of anxiety and depressive disorders in ED. Nevertheless, the study confirmed that OCD is more frequent in AN, even after controlling for confounding factors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / classification
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / epidemiology
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Bulimia Nervosa* / classification
  • Bulimia Nervosa* / diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa* / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index