Suicidality Is Elevated among Teens with Bulimia Nervosa

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
January/February 2011 Volume 22, Number 1
©2011 Gürze Books

Recent reports suggest that persons with bulimia nervosa (BN) are at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and actions, but little is known about suicidality among adolescents with BN. Scott J. Crow, MD and colleagues at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and the Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch of the National Institutes of Mental Health, Washington, DC, recently reported a study in which suicidal ideation was found to be more common among teens with BN than among teens with other eating disorders. The researchers evaluated the frequency and correlates of suicidality in teens in a population-based sample. The subjects were 10,123 teens participating in a nationally representative survey of psychopathology, the National Comorbidity Survey Replication-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A).

The survey results provided new information about eating disorders symptoms and suicidality among adolescent patients. The diagnoses of eating disorders were made with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview, or CIDI. As reported at the Eating Disorders Research Society meeting in Cambridge, MA, suicidal ideation was more common among teens with BN (53%) than among those with another eating disorder (AN:31.4%; Binge eating disorder, 34.4%). The researchers found a similar pattern for suicidal planning (25.9%) and suicidal attempts (35.1%) among teens with BN. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors were more common in teens who purged than in those who did not purge. Dr. Crow and his colleagues note that the study results underscore the importance of addressing the topic of suicide risk in all adolescents struggling with disordered eating.

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