Psychiatric comorbidity in binge-eating disorder as a function of smoking history

Marney A White, Carlos M Grilo
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2006, 67 (4): 594-9

OBJECTIVE: To examine the comorbidity of psychiatric disorders in obese women with binge-eating disorder (BED) as a function of smoking history.

METHOD: A consecutive series of 103 obese treatment-seeking women with current DSM-IV diagnoses of BED were administered structured diagnostic interviews to assess all DSM-IV Axis I psychiatric disorders. Participants were classified as "never" or "daily" smokers, and lifetime rates of comorbid psychopathology were compared across smoking groups using logistic regression. The study was conducted from February 2003 to March 2005.

RESULTS: Smokers were significantly more likely to meet criteria for co-occurring diagnoses of major depressive disorder (p = .03), panic disorder (p = .01), posttraumatic stress disorder (p < .05), and substance abuse or dependence (p = .01). Even after excluding participants with substance use disorders, significant differences remained, with lifetime smokers having significantly higher rates of co-occurring anxiety disorders.

CONCLUSIONS: It is possible that for some obese women with BED, binge eating and cigarette smoking share common functions, i.e., both behaviors may serve to modulate negative affect and/or anxiety. Although the current findings are consistent with a view of a common diathesis for the development of impulsive eating, cigarette or other substance use, and additional Axis I psychopathology, prospective longitudinal studies are needed to elucidate the nature of potential pathways.

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