HealthDay News — One in 5 patients with adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa have a chronic eating disorder 30 years later, according to a study published online May 22 in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Sandra Rydberg Dobrescu, from University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and colleagues evaluated 30-year outcomes among 51 participants with adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa and 51 school- and gender-matched controls. Participants were followed prospectively and examined at mean ages of 16, 21, 24, 32, and 44 years.

The researchers had 30-year follow-up data for 96% of participants, which revealed that 19% had an eating disorder diagnosis (6% anorexia nervosa, 2% binge-eating disorder, 11% other specified feeding or eating disorder); 38% had other psychiatric diagnoses; and 64% had full eating disorder symptom recovery (defined as free of all eating disorder criteria for 6 consecutive months). During the study period, on average, participants had an eating disorder for 10 years, while 23% did not receive psychiatric treatment. Later age at onset during the adolescent years and premorbid perfectionism predicted good outcomes.

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“This long-term follow-up study reflects the course of adolescent-onset anorexia nervosa and has shown a favorable outcome regarding mortality and full symptom recovery,” the authors write.

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