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. 2020 Jan 30;20(1):36.
doi: 10.1186/s12888-020-2457-0.

Presence of Eating Disorder Symptoms in Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

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Free PMC article

Presence of Eating Disorder Symptoms in Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Lasse Bang et al. BMC Psychiatry. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Background: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is common in patients with eating disorders (EDs). There is a lack of research investigating the presence of ED symptoms among patients with OCD, despite concerns that many of these patients may be at high risk for EDs. Our objective was to assess the presence of ED symptoms in patients receiving treatment for OCD.

Methods: Adult patients with OCD (n = 132, 71% females) and controls (n = 260, 90% females) completed the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q) at admission to a specialized OCD outpatient unit. A small subset of patients (n = 22) also completed the EDE-Q 3-months after end of treatment.

Results: At the group-level, mean EDE-Q scores did not differ significantly between female patients and controls. However, female patients compared to controls were significantly more likely to score above the EDE-Q cut-off (23% vs. 11%) and have a probable ED (9% vs. 1%), indicating elevated rates of ED symptoms in the clinical range. There was no evidence of elevated rates of ED symptoms in male patients, though sample sizes were small. Preliminary follow-up data showed that certain ED symptoms improved significantly from admission to 3-month follow-up.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that while ED symptoms are not generally elevated in female patients with OCD, a considerable subset of female patients may have a clinical ED or be at high risk of developing one. Clinicians should be alert to ED symptoms in female patients with OCD, and our findings raise the issue of whether ED screening of female patients with OCD is warranted.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Bulimia nervosa; Comorbidity; Eating disorders; Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Raincloud plots showing the distributions of EDE-Q global and subscale scores in male groups. Note. Horizontal dashed line signifies the EDE-Q global cut-off threshold. Cont: Controls; EDE-Q: Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Raincloud plots showing the distributions of EDE-Q global and subscale scores in female groups. Note. Horizontal dashed line signifies the EDE-Q global cut-off threshold. Cont: Controls; EDE-Q: Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire

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