Affective disturbance in eating disorders.


Piran N, Kennedy S, Garfinkel PE, Owens M




J Nerv Ment Dis


Thirty-three bulimic and 14 restrictive anorexics were compared on DSM-III diagnoses of affective and anxiety disorders, observer-rated and self-rated measures of depression and anxiety, and family history. A subgroup of 18 eating disorder subjects was administered the dexamethasone suppression test. The same 18 subjects were compared to 13 subjects with affective disorder on the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia. It was found that a large group with bulimia and restrictive anorexia nervosa was subject to a depressive disorder. Thirty-eight percent of the sample fulfilled criteria for a major depressive episode. The dysphoric experience seemed as intense in the bulimic and restricter group. There was a high incidence of dexamethasone nonsuppression (55%), which was found to be related to various measures of depression. Bulimics and restricters differed in their family history of affective disorder. While 61% of bulimics had a positive history of depression, this was found in only 23% of restricters (p less than .03).