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Bulimic eating disorders in primary care: hidden morbidity still?


Mond, JM and Myers, TC and Crosby, RD and Hay, PJ and Mitchell, JE, Bulimic eating disorders in primary care: hidden morbidity still?, Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 17, (1) pp. 56-63. ISSN 1068-9583 (2010) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10880-009-9180-9


The current study examined the features of women with bulimic-type eating disorders (n = 24) attending primary care in two smaller urban regions of the USA. The assessment included measures of eating disorder psychopathology, medical comorbidity, impairment in role functioning, potential barriers to treatment and actual use of health services. Eating disorders, primarily variants of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder not meeting formal diagnostic criteria, were associated with marked impairment in psychosocial functioning. Although two-thirds of participants recognized a problem with their eating, less than 40% had ever sought treatment from a health professional for an eating or weight problem and only one in ten had sought such treatment from a mental health specialist. Only one-third had ever been asked about problems with eating by a primary care practitioner or other health professional. However, more than 80% had sought treatment from a health professional for symptoms of anxiety or depression. Most reported some degree of discomfort in discussing eating problems with others, and half reported that they would not be truthful about such problems if asked. Having an eating disorder was associated with several chronic medical conditions, including joint pain, gastrointestinal problems and fatigue. Although the small sample size limits any firm conclusions, the findings suggest that the health burden of bulimic-type eating disorders is substantial but remains largely hidden. Efforts may be needed to improve the eating disorders "mental health literacy" of both patients and primary care practitioners in order to facilitate early, appropriate intervention.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Eating disorders, Bulimia nervosa, Primary care
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Mond, JM (Dr Jon Mond)
ID Code:117943
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:55
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2017-06-29
Last Modified:2017-11-28

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