Doctors and other health workers should be
more aware of the high risk of eating disorders among people with
obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and other anxiety
According to new research presented today at
the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ 2009 Annual Meeting, as many as
one in five people with OCD could also have some form of disordered
eating. In addition, disordered eating may occur in as many as one
in three patients with other anxiety disorders.
OCD is a serious anxiety-related condition
that affects 2-3% of the adult population. People with severe OCD
may find it difficult to work regularly, or even take part in their
family or social life.
Dr Lynne Drummond, a consultant psychiatrist
at South West London and St George's NHS Mental Health Trust,
collected data from a sample of patients with severe OCD who were
referred to a specialist unit for treatment. A control group of
patients with other anxiety disorders referred for treatment to the
same unit was also studied.
The study found that a fifth of the patients
with OCD also had signs of disordered eating. The prevalance for
those with other anxiety disorders was a one in three.
Dr Drummond said: “Although these have been
several studies examining the prevalence of OCD and obsessive
symptoms in patients with eating disorders, there is a dearth of
studies where patients with OCD and other anxiety disorders are
examined for eating disorders.
“This study suggests that clinicians should be
made aware of the high prevalence of disordered eating in patients
with all anxiety disorders as well as OCD.”
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Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, BT Convention Centre, Liverpool, 2 -5 June 2009