Anorexia nervosa: outcome and prognostic factors after 20 years

R H Ratnasuriya, I Eisler, G I Szmukler, G F Russell
British Journal of Psychiatry 1991, 158: 495-502
Forty-one patients with anorexia nervosa, admitted to the Maudsley Hospital between 1959 and 1966, were followed up after a mean of 20 years. An assessment of general outcome (based on the Morgan-Russell scales) yielded three outcome categories: 'good' (n = 12), 'intermediate' (n = 13) and 'poor' (n = 15). Six patients (15%) had died from causes related to anorexia nervosa; at least 15% had developed bulimia nervosa. There was a general consistency between the follow-up at 20 years and that previously conducted five years after admission, although with a few individual patients there were serious prognostic errors at the earlier follow-up. A poorer outcome was associated with a later age of onset, a history of neurotic and personality disturbances, disturbed relationships in the family and a longer duration of illness.

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