Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness (5% to 10%).1 Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa—or a combination of the two—share body image distortions and are associated with a great deal of other comorbid symptoms. Anorexia especially is often chronic and difficult to treat; patients restrict their food intake, become emaciated, and face repeat hospitalizations. Persons with bulimia tend to be of normal body weight, and some form of purging in the form or vomiting or laxatives often follows binge episodes.
The challenge for clinicians is to find better treatments. Fortunately, in the last decade, new evidence has emerged to help clinicians understand and treat patients.
Here to offer a preview of his presentation at the US Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress in San Diego is Dr Walter H. Kaye, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Eating Disorders Treatment and Research Program at the University of California,
1. Kaplan AS, Strasburg, K. Chronic eating disorders: a different approach to treatment resistance. Psychiatric Times. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/eating-disorders/content/article/10168/1432278.