Multiple Purging Methods Indicate Severity of an ED

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
September/October 2007 Volume 18, Number 5
©2007 Gürze Books

For more than a decade, purging has been used to differentiate subtypes of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and to better measure the severity of eating disorders. Dr. Pamela Keel and colleagues at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, recently found that the number of methods a patient uses to purge provides more information about the severity of her disorder than does the frequency of purges (Int J Eat Disord 2007; 40:515).

The authors note that while the use of multiple methods of purging is a better way to mark the severity of an eating disorder, analyses suggest that frequency of purging is a better indicator of general psychopathology. The researchers studied a group of 111 women 18 to 45 years of age (body mass indexes:19 to 25 kg/m2), who were originally recruited from the community for a study on the clinical significance and distinctiveness of purging disorder.

Purging frequency was associated with greater depression, impulsiveness, anxiety, and personality disorder diagnoses. In contrast, women who used several methods of purging only reported greater Cluster A personality disorders compared with women who used a single method of purging.

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