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Issue: Issue 6 – 2019


Review Article

Relevance of obsessive-compulsive psychopathology in anorexia nervosa: a brief narrative review

Author(s):
Francisco Coutinho and Isabel Brandão
Abstract:
It has been suggested that anorexia nervosa (AN) may be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). There is also the idea that certain obsessive personality traits are frequent in patients with AN. In this paper we aimed to organize the literature concerning the nature of the relationship between AN and obsessive pathology, both as OCD and as obsessive personality traits and to suggest new research topics in the future, as well as pointing the main methodological difficulties in previous studies. According to the analyzed data obsessive-compulsive psychopathology in AN occurs in several forms. One of those is related to the obsessive personality traits, which may be found before the onset of the eating disorder (ED) and are also found after recovering a healthy weight. However, obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms also increase during periods of worsening of the ED. There are different approaches concerning the study of the relationship between OC psychopathology and AN, including based on neurobiological factors, on the study of psychiatric symptoms and personality factors. In future studies, it would be important to have a better differentiation between obsessive personality traits and obsessive-compulsive symptoms, a clearer individualization of ED syndromes in patient samples and continue the neurobiological study of these conditions, further characterizing their putative link.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa, Obsessive, Compulsive, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, Eating disorders.

International Journal of Clinical Neurosciences and Mental Health 2019; 6:1
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21035/ijcnmh.2019.6.1
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