Eating Disorders and Common Co-morbidities

bulimia nervosa

Dania Demaurio

Dania Demaurio, LCSW
Behavioral Health Consultant
NOAH Balsz Health Center

Eating disorders are often present with other medical and/or psychiatric conditions. It is important seek professional support to assess an eating disorder, rule out comorbidities and to provide conjunctive treatment as needed.

Common comorbid psychiatric conditions include major depressive disorder or dysthymia which is present is as many as 50% to 95% of patients with eating disorders, sexual abuse (20% to 50%), obsessive–compulsive disorder (25% with anorexia nervosa), substance abuse (12% to 18% with anorexia nervosa, especially the binge–purge subtype, and 30% to 37% with bulimia nervosa), and bipolar disorder (4% to 13%). There is also research that indicates post-traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder comorbidities. Children and adolescents with eating disorders are found to have similar levels of psychiatric comorbidities to adults

Common medical co-morbidities related to weight loss, purging, and laxative use include:
Weight loss Low albumin
Amenorrhea Orthostatic blood pressure drop
Bradycardia Osteoporosis
Cold intolerance Stress fractures
Constipation Structural and functional brain changes
Cyanosis Thyroid dysfunction
Edema Appetite suppressant abuse
Hypoglycemia Hypertension
Tachyarrhythmia Cardiac and other myopathies
Tremors Dehydration
Abnormal colonic motility Dental caries
Arrhythmias Electrolyte abnormalities
Reflux Gastrointestinal irritation
Parotid abnormalities Bleeding
Secondary renal failure

Common medical co-morbidities related to obesity related to binge eating include:

o Hyperlipidemia.
o Diabetes mellitus.
o Sleep apnea.
o Joint injury.
o Hypertension.
o Cardiac and respiratory disorders.

NOAH is an integrated health care facility with primary medical care, pediatrics, internal medicine, dental, psychiatric, behavioral health, and nutrition services. NOAH providers can assess and help formulate a treatment plan that addresses holistic needs of individuals with eating disorders. If you have concerns that you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, please schedule an appointment with one of our providers and discuss your concerns.

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