National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

Comorbidity of mental disorders and substance use: a brief guide for the primary care clinician

9.1 Eating disorders

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Eating disorders are more common in women than in men(119, 120). However, it is important that these disorders are not overlooked in men(3).

Eating disorders are a group of disorders that include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and eating disorders not otherwise specified.

9.1.1 Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is characterised by a significant weight loss as a result of compromised eating, obsessive fears of being overweight and the voluntary pursuit of thinness. Anorexia is a chronic relapsing illness with one of the highest rates of mortality among psychiatric disorders.

Two main sub-types of anorexia nervosa include the: A 'binge' is defined as the consumption of an excessive amount of food in a short period of time, during which the person experiences loss of control of their behaviour.

Management approaches

Studies into the pharmacological treatment of anorexia are sparse and results for those that have assessed atypical antipsychotics and antidepressants are inconsistent.

In general, approaches to the management of people with anorexia nervosa involve(3, 342): For further information please consult:

Anorexia nervosa: A treatment guide for consumers and carers:

9.1.2 Bulimia

Bulimia is characterised by episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviours to rid the body of calories and an obsession with weight and shape.

There are two main types of bulimia (reflecting the compensatory behaviours)(342):

Management approaches

In general, approaches to the management of people with bulimia involve:

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