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UPDATE: Post-Traumatic Stress and Eating Disorders

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
September/October 2005 Volume 16, Number 5
©2005 Gürze Books

Clinicians who treat women with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) should be alert to the possibility of underlying eating disorders, according to a recent study by Boston clinicians. One-third of the 242 women veterans enrolled in the Veterans Administration Cooperative Study, a randomized clinical trial that is evaluating cognitive-behavioral therapy for PTSD, also had a lifetime diagnosis of an eating disorder. While treating the women for PTSD, the researchers discovered the following underlying eating disorders: anorexia nervosa (1 case); current bulimia nervosa (BN) (5); a past history of BN (21); eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) (27); past history of EDNOS (21); and a history of any eating disorder (67). The veterans who had both PTSD and an eating disorder had significantly greater symptoms of depression and anxiety than those with PTSD alone. In addition, a lifetime diagnosis of an ED was significantly associated with other diagnoses, particularly anxiety and personality disorders. The study results were reported at the International Conference on Eating Disorders in Montreal in April.


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