Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Importance of Addressing OCD and Other Anxiety Disorders Symptoms in the Treatment of Eating Disorders

By Theodore E. Weltzin, MD
Nicolette Weisensel, MD
Tracey Cornella-Carlson, MD
Bradley C. Riemann, PhD
Pamela Bean, PhD.
Rogers Memorial Hospital - Eating Disorder Center

Eating disorder symptoms can be more severe for those also struggling with a co-occurring anxiety disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Rogers Memorial Hospital has recently developed a residential program that specifically uses evidence-based treatment for both eating disorders and anxiety disorders. While effectively addressing anxiety disorder symptoms in eating disorder patients can be challenging, preliminary results show a significant reduction in both anxiety and eating disorders symptoms. In the spring of 2008, Rogers Memorial Hospital will open a new residential treatment center that features a specialized program for those with co-occurring anxiety and eating disorders.

A substantial number of those diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia present with at least two co-morbid psychiatric illnesses at admission to treatment (Bean et al., 2005; Blinder, Cumella & Sanathara, 2006). The presence of anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) , have been consistently found in patients who were already being treated for eating disorders in an outpatient or an inpatient setting (e.g., Bean, 2006; Kaye, Bulik, Thorton, Barbarich, & Masters, 2004; Rabe-Jablonska, 2003). Findings indicate that OCD is present in a low of 10% (Lucka, 2006; Rabe-Jablonska, 1996), a median of 20-37%, (e.g., Bean, 2006; Rubenstein, Pigott, L'Heureux, Hill & Murphy, 1992; Thiel, Broocks, Ohlmeier, Jacoby & Schussler, 1995) and a high of 56% (Blinder, Cumella & Sanathara, 2006) of all eating disorder patients. Both conditions have a peak age of onset during adolescent years and interestingly, OCD prevalence is increased in both anorexic and bulimic eating disorder subgroups. OCD was found to be two times more common in patients with a diagnosis of anorexia (Blinder, Cumella & Sanathara, 2006; Lucka, 2006) compared to bulimia...finish article

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