Anorexia nervosa: long-term outcome in 50 female patients.
A Hall, E Slim, F Hawker, C Salmond


Fifty consecutively referred female patients with anorexia nervosa were followed-up to identify those completely healthy at a minimum of four years (mean eight years) since onset. As well as using Morgan's Outcome Measures, an independent psychiatrist elicited details of food/weight pre-occupation and psychiatric state. The outcome results, based on weight and menstruation, (36% 'good', 36% 'intermediate', and 26% 'poor' including 2% dead, and 2% not assessed) did not differ significantly from those of the three similar published studies on similar patients; 62% of patients continued to have some food/weight pre-occupation. DSM III criteria for a psychiatric disorder other than eating disorder were fulfilled by 50%; dysthymic disorder was common (34%), occurring exclusively in patients with continuing eating disorder symptoms, while only 20% of the sample were free of any physical or mental abnormality. Of 52 prognostic factors studied, only four were significantly related to the outcome measures. Length of illness at presentation was the only prognostic factor common to all four similarly conducted studies.