Morbidity risk for obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders in first-degree relatives of patients with eating disorders

L. Bellodi, M. C. Cavallini, S. Bertelli, D. Chiapparino, C. Riboldi, E. Smeraldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: A hypothesis that eating disorders are a phenomenological variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has been proposed. This study was conducted to determine whether anorexia nervosa and bulimia, the two main eating disorders, are familial and whether the risk for obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders (OCD and tic disorders) is higher in families of patients with eating disorders. Method: The morbidity risk for obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders in first-degree relatives of 136 female probands with eating disorders (84 with anorexia nervosa, 52 with bulimia) was compared to that for first-degree relatives of 72 female comparison subjects. Results: The morbidity risk for obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorders was significantly higher among the 436 relatives of the eating disorder probands than among the 358 relatives of the comparison subjects (9.69% versus 0%). This finding was independent of any comorbid diagnosis of an obsessive-compulsive spectrum disorder in the eating disorder probands. The eating disorder group and the comparison group did not differ in familial risk for eating disorders and tic disorders. Conclusions: To better understand the genetic components of eating disorders, these disorders should be considered as part of the obsessive-compulsive spectrum of disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-569
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume158
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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