Depression and treatment outcome in anorexia nervosa

Psychiatry Res. 2014 Aug 15;218(1-2):195-200. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.04.024. Epub 2014 Apr 16.


The aim of this study was to compare the immediate and long-term effect of a cognitive-behavior therapy program for anorexia nervosa inpatients with and without concomitant Major Depressive Episodes (MDE). The program has been adapted from the "enhanced" form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for eating disorders. Sixty-three consecutive underweight adult patients with severe eating disorder were treated with inpatient CBT. MDE was assessed with the structured clinical interview for DSM-IV. The Eating Disorder Examination, and the Brief Symptom Inventory were recorded at entry, at the end of treatment, and 6 and 12 months later. MDE was present in 60.3% of participants. No significant differences were observed in the demographic and baseline clinical variables between patients with and without MDE. Significant improvements in weight, and in eating disorder and general psychopathology were showed. There were no differences between participants with and without MDE in terms of treatment outcome, and the severity of depression was not associated with changes in global Eating Disorder Examination score. These findings suggest that a diagnosis of MDE does not influence the outcome of inpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa patients, and that the severity of depression cannot be used to predict the success or failure of such treatment.

Keywords: Cognitive behavior therapy; Eating disorders; Inpatient treatment; Major depressive episode.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / complications*
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy*
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult