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Majority of Teens With Eating Disorders Recover

Last Updated: June 06, 2019.

One in five patients with adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa have a chronic eating disorder 30 years later, according to a study published online May 22 in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

THURSDAY, June 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- One in five patients with adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa have a chronic eating disorder 30 years later, according to a study published online May 22 in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Sandra Rydberg Dobrescu, from University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues evaluated 30-year outcomes among 51 participants with adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa and 51 school- and gender-matched controls. Participants were followed prospectively and examined at mean ages of 16, 21, 24, 32, and 44 years.

The researchers had 30-year follow-up data for 96 percent of participants, which revealed that 19 percent had an eating disorder diagnosis (6 percent anorexia nervosa, 2 percent binge-eating disorder, 11 percent other specified feeding or eating disorder); 38 percent had other psychiatric diagnoses; and 64 percent had full eating disorder symptom recovery (defined as free of all eating disorder criteria for six consecutive months). During the study period, on average, participants had an eating disorder for 10 years, while 23 percent did not receive psychiatric treatment. Later age at onset during the adolescent years and premorbid perfectionism predicted good outcomes.

"This long-term follow-up study reflects the course of adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa and has shown a favorable outcome regarding mortality and full symptom recovery," the authors write.

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