, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 18-24

Recent research of relationships among eating disorders and personality disorders

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Abstract

This review focuses on recent research examining the relationships among eating disorders (ED) and personality disorders (PD). Studies that have examined rates of PD in patients with ED and rates of ED in patients with PD have generally reported high rates of diagnostic co-occurrence, although the marked inconsistency and variability in rates across studies is striking. Methodologic limitations and conceptual problems make interpretation of the existing literature ambiguous. Overall, circumspect review suggests that anorexia nervosa may be associated with obsessional and perfectionistic forms of personality disturbances, bulimia nervosa with impulsive and unstable personality disturbances, and binge eating disorder with avoidant and anxious forms of personality disturbances. In terms of longitudinal associations, PD may be more closely associated with the course of general psychiatric or psychosocial functioning than with fluctuations in the course of ED. The significance (and more precise nature) of these associations, however, is unclear and will require sophisticated longitudinal studies to arrive at more definitive answers.