Int J Eat Disord. 2000 Jul;28(1):20-6.



Mortality in eating disorders: a descriptive study.


Herzog DB, Greenwood DN, Dorer DJ, Flores AT, Ekeblad ER, Richards A, Blais MA, Keller MB.



Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.herzogd@al. Mgh.harvard.edu

Objectives:

We report rates and causes of death for a cohort of 246 eating-disordered women and provide descriptive information on their eating disorder and comorbid diagnoses. METHOD: Data on mortality were collected as part of a longitudinal study of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, now in its 11th year. Other data sources included death certificates, autopsy reports, relative interviews, and a National Death Index search.

Results:

Seven deaths have occurred during the study, all among anorexic subjects with a history of binging and purging and with comorbid Axis I disorders. The crude mortality rate was 5.1%. The standardized mortality ratios for death (9.6) and suicide (58.1) were significantly elevated (p <. 001).

Conclusions:

Anorexia nervosa is associated with a substantial risk of death and suicide. Features correlated with fatal outcome are longer duration of illness, binging and purging, comorbid substance abuse, and comorbid affective disorders.

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