Long-term outcome of 151 cases of anorexia nervosa. The Copenhagen Anorexia Nervosa Follow-Up Study

K Tolstrup, M Brinch, T Isager, S Nielsen, J Nystrup, B Severin, N S Olesen

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    One hundred and fifty-one patients (140 females - 11 males) with anorexia nervosa (AN) from three departments (child psychiatry, psychiatry, and internal medicine) were re-examined 4-22 years (average 12.5 years) after their first contact with the Rigshospital in Copenhagen. During the years 1960-76 the number of referrals was on the increase, and relatively more patients were treated in the psychiatric departments at the end than at the beginning of the period. Mean age was 16.6 years at onset, 19.0 years at primary contact. Mean weight loss was 32%. Mean duration of treatment was 12 months. Differences between the three departments concern especially age, sex, and duration of treatment. Mean age at follow-up was 31.0 years (range 16-63 years) for surviving probands. Follow-up information originated from semi-structured personal interviews (in 80% of surviving probands) together with register data on all probands, supplemented by extensive hospital data. Nine patients (6%), including six who committed suicide, died on the average 7.3 years after primary contact (average age 27.1 years). The mortality rate was 0.5% per year. At follow-up one fourth of the surviving probands had AN and one fourth suffered from other psychiatric disorders, while one half were free from mental illness. There were no significant differences in outcome between the three departments. As a whole, the group experienced a social decline. It is concluded that a substantial part of this group of AN patients had a poor prognosis with a tendency towards chronicity, despite relatively long and intensive treatment, but, on the other hand, about one half of the probands seemed to be healthy and well functioning.

    Sider (fra-til)380-7
    Antal sider8
    TidsskriftActa Psychiatrica Scandinavica
    Udgave nummer4
    StatusUdgivet - apr. 1985


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