Course and Outcomes of Eating Disorders

It is estimated that nearly one-half of patients with anorexia nervosa recover, 33 percent improve somewhat, and 20 percent remain chronically ill. Numerous studies have attempted to identify predictors of the course and recovery of anorexia nervosa, but these findings have been contradictory and unclear.

Similar to anorexia nervosa, approximately 50 percent of bulimic individuals recover, 30 percent improve somewhat, and 20 percent continue to meet full criteria for bulimia nervosa. Long-term followup studies suggest that only 10 percent of bulimic individuals continue to fully meet diagnostic criteria after 10 years of the illness.

Duration of symptoms and level of personality disturbance may predict a more negative outcome in bulimia nervosa. Furthermore, there is some evidence to suggest that cognitive behavioral therapy may speed recovery from the disorder.

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