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Symptoms of psychosis in anorexia and bulimia nervosa

Psychiatry Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.psychres.2009.03.011
  • Anorexia Nervosa/Psychology
  • Bulimia/Psychology
  • Schizophrenia
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Abstract Despite evidence from case series, the comorbidity of eating disorders with psychosis is less investigated than their comorbidity with anxiety and mood disorders. We investigated the occurrence of symptoms of psychosis in 112 female patients diagnosed with DSM-IV eating disorders (anorexia nervosa = 61, bulimia nervosa = 51) and 631 high school girls in the same health district as the patients: the items of the SCL-90R symptom dimensions “paranoid ideation” and “psychoticism” were specifically examined. No case of co-morbid schizophrenia was observed among patients. Compared with controls, the patients with anorexia nervosa were more likely to endorse the item “Never feeling close to another person”; the patients with bulimia nervosa were more likely to endorse the item “Feeling others are to blame for your troubles”. Both groups of patients were more likely than controls to endorse the item “Idea that something is wrong with your mind”. The students who were identified by the EAT and the BITE as being “at risk” for eating disorders were more likely to assign their body a causative role in their problems. Symptoms of psychosis can be observed in patients with eating disorders, but these could be better explained within the psychopathology of the disorders rather than by assuming a link with schizophrenia.

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