Clinical profile of children and adolescents diagnosed with anorexia nervosa in Indian context

Asian J Psychiatr. 2022 May:71:103077. doi: 10.1016/j.ajp.2022.103077. Epub 2022 Mar 11.


Objective: This study was conducted to assess the trends observed in the prevalence pattern, clinical presentation, psychosocial profile and treatment profile of anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents who presented to a tertiary care child and adolescent psychiatry centre over a period of ten years.

Methods: Case records of children and adolescents diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at the department of child and adolescent psychiatry from 1st April 2009-31 st March 2019 were obtained from the medical records department of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS). Standardized data abstraction forms were developed and used for the purpose of this study. Pseudo-anonymization was done to ensure confidentiality and clinical characteristics of the sample were studied using frequency analysis and central tendencies.

Results: Prevalence of anorexia nervosa in a clinic-based population is estimated to be 0.07% over the 10-year period. The mean age at presentation was 13.96 years (SD-2.3) and the male to female ratio was 1:12. The majority (80.8%) were admitted and only one patient (3.8%) received treatment on an outpatient basis. Two or more psychosocial stressors were associated with the onset of illness in 88.5% (n = 23) of the patients and dysfunctional family dynamics was noted to be a significant issue in the majority of cases. All the patients received pharmacotherapy and CBT-based individual therapy. The overall outcome was favourable based on the CGI-I scores.

Conclusions: Prevalence of anorexia nervosa in the clinic-based setting is rising in the Indian context. Sample characteristics are similar to those seen in the west. There is a huge demand-supply gap that calls for creating a service provider network to ensure community-based care.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Children and adolescents; Indian context.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / diagnosis
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / epidemiology
  • Anorexia Nervosa* / therapy
  • Asian People
  • Child
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotherapy
  • United States