Individuals with eating disorders (EDs) have increased rates of major depressive disorder (MDD) and anxiety disorders. Yet, few studies have investigated rates of EDs and their symptoms in individuals presenting with MDD/anxiety disorders. Identifying potential disordered eating in people with MDD/anxiety disorders is important because even subclinical disordered eating is associated with reduced quality of life, and undiagnosed eating pathology may hinder treatment progress for both MDD/anxiety disorders and comorbid EDs..
Among participants with lifetime MDD or any anxiety disorder, 13% met criteria for a lifetime ED and 39% reported engaging in at least one lifetime clinically significant disordered eating behavior (e.g., binge eating) on the SCID. In contrast, only 3% of participants without a history of MDD/an anxiety disorder met criteria for a lifetime ED, and only 11% reported lifetime clinically significant disordered eating behavior.
Our findings suggest that women with MDD and anxiety disorders have elevated rates of EDs, and it is therefore imperative to screen for disordered eating in these populations.