Eating and Personality Disorders

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Eating and Personality Disorders

The correlation between eating disorders and other psychological disorders is very important for our understanding of the causes and possible treatments for eating disorders. It is known that many people with eating disorders also fit the criteria for several DSM-IV psychological disorders. If researchers can find patterns of comorbidity between these two types of disorders they may be able to better diagnose and treat patients with both of these disorders. The question that I pose it what is the relationship between eating disorders and personality disorders(axis 11 disorders in DSM-IV)? It is important to look for comorbidity between the two disorders to determine the impact they have on each other. Once we understand their relationship we may be able to prevent one disorder by treating the other or maybe use the same type of therapy to treat both. In order to answer the question posed I have reviewed several major research articles on the prevalence and comorbidity of personality disorders and eating disorders.


Personality disorders fall under axis 11 of the DSM-IV. This section includes borderline, schizoid, paranoid, antisocial, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive and avoidant disorders. There are several disorders included in axis 11 but for our purposes we will mostly be dealing with the disorders listed above. The most common personality disorder found among patients with eating disorders is borderline disorder. The majority of the research deals with borderline disorder, a disorder that is characterized by "vulnerability to a range of impulsive behaviors (overeating, shoplifting, substance abuse) and a history of self-destructive behavior, includi...

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...lity Disorders in 210 Women With Eating Disorders.Jounal of Clinical Psych8atry, Vol. 53(5), 147-152. 1992.

Johnson, Craig et al. Prevalence of Clinical Characteristics of Borderline Patients in and Eating-Disordered Population. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Vol 50(l), 9-15. (1989).

Skodol, Andrew E. et al. Comorbidity of DSM-111-R Eating Disorders and Personality Disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders Vol 14(4), 403-416.(1993).

Steiger, Howard et al. Prospective Study of Outcome in Bulimics as a Function of Axis-11 Comorbidity: Long Term Responses on Eating and Psychiatric Symptoms. Internationgl Journal of Eating Disorders, Vol 20 (2), 149-161.(1996).

Wonderlich, Stephen A. et al. Five Year OUtcom from Eating Disorders: Relevance of Personality Disorders. International Journal of Eating Disorders. Vol 15(3), 233-243.(1994).
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