Eating Disorders

Researchers focus on early symptoms

By eating disorders, we mean disorders associated with weight and eating. The most common are anorexia nervosa, bulimia and overeating. Eating disorders are primarily genetic - biological and environmental.

The most common disease of the whole spectrum of eating disorders is anorexia nervosa. It is often perceived when the patient is brought to extreme malnutrition. The same is true with other eating disorders. That is, they become visible when their effects are visible on the body.


What's new in research?

A new British study has been able to identify the first warning signs that someone may have a eating disorder. The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry by the British College of Psychiatrists, showed that people diagnosed with an eating disorder had higher rates of other illnesses and prescription drugs in the years before they were diagnosed.

It is worth noting that although eating disorders affect millions of people worldwide, this study is the first to address the early evidence of these disorders. The authors of the study and the scientific community believe that the findings may give doctors more chance to diagnose eating disorders early.

Swansea University's School of Medicine research team examined anonymous online health records and hospital admissions in Wales in an area where 15,558 people were diagnosed with eating disorders between 1990 and 2017.

The results showed that two years before they were diagnosed with an eating disorder, these individuals had elevated levels of other mental disorders such as personality disorders, depression, alcoholism. Increased rates of accidents, injuries and self-injury were also observed.

These findings were also confirmed at drug levels, as people with eating disorders had higher prescription rates for antipsychotic and antidepressants. Still, they had higher prescription rates for gastrointestinal drugs and dietary supplements.

The lead researcher, Dr. Jakinda Tan, said that early intervention in eating disorders is of great value, while delay leads to worse prognosis and results, but also to more suffering.





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