European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

, Volume 21, Issue 8, pp 421–432 | Cite as

Somatic problems and self-injurious behaviour 18 years after teenage-onset anorexia nervosa

  • Elisabet WentzEmail author
  • I. Carina Gillberg
  • Henrik Anckarsäter
  • Christopher Gillberg
  • Maria Råstam
Original Contribution


The aim of this study was to study long-term outcome of physical health and self-injurious behaviour (SIB) in anorexia nervosa (AN). Fifty-one adolescent-onset AN cases, originally recruited after community screening, and 51 matched controls (COMP) were interviewed regarding somatic problems and SIB and physically examined 18 years after AN onset, at mean age 32 years. Six individuals had an eating disorder (ED). No one had died. The AN group weighed less than the COMP group. The frequency of somatic problems did not differ between groups. Dental enamel lesions and shorter than expected stature occurred only in the AN group. Dysdiadochokinesis was overrepresented in the AN group and age of AN onset was lower among those with the neurological deficit. Severe SIB occurred only in the AN group, predominantly during adolescence. To conclude, somatic problems were common in both groups. Most individuals in the AN group had recovered from their ED, but weight revealed a persistent restricted eating behaviour.


Anorexia nervosa Adolescent-onset Physical health Self-injurious behaviour Follow-up Community-based 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the young adults who participated and Birgitta Melander for being instrumental in assuring complete coverage of the original cohort of probands and controls. This work was supported by the Swedish Research Council (K2006-21X-20048-01-2; K2008-62x-20048-03-2), The Vårdal Institute, the Swedish Institute for Health Sciences, government grants under the ALF agreement, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Söderström Königska Nursing Home Foundation, the Swedish Medical Society, and the Göteborg Freemasons.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabet Wentz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • I. Carina Gillberg
    • 1
  • Henrik Anckarsäter
    • 3
  • Christopher Gillberg
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Maria Råstam
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Gillberg Neuropsychiatry CentreUniversity of GothenburgGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.The Vårdal Institute, The Swedish Institute for Health SciencesLundSweden
  3. 3.Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Forensic PsychiatryUniversity of GothenburgGöteborgSweden
  4. 4.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Yorkhill HospitalStrathclyde UniversityGlasgowUK
  5. 5.Institute of Child HealthUniversity CollegeLondonUK
  6. 6.Department of Clinical Sciences, Child and Adolescent PsychiatryLund UniversityLundSweden

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