Researchers at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust’s (SLaM) OCD Service in collaboration with the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) have discovered an increase in the development of eating disorders in children who were previously diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A new study found that nearly one in ten children who had OCD later went on to develop an eating disorder, a higher statistic than is found in those without OCD. Dr. Nadia Micali, of the IoP of King’s College in London, and colleagues tracked 126 children and their parents for as many as nine years to gather their data. They asked the participants a series of questions designed to determine the presence of an eating disorder. “Among the young people we followed up with, females who experienced OCD during childhood, and also have a family history of eating disorders, are at high risk for developing an eating disorder later in life,” said Dr Micali. “Recognizing childhood OCD as a contributing factor to developing an eating disorder in adolescence may help clinicians detect higher risk individuals and implement early treatment or even prevention.”
The OCD Service at SLaM treats children of all ages with mental health challenges including body dysmorphic disorder, OCD and trichotillomania. Dr. Isobel Heyman, the head of the service, hopes that this type of study will improve the methods of treatment available to young people with disorders such as OCD. “Longitudinal studies like this are essential to establish the outcomes of children who present at a young age with mental health problems,” Dr. Heyman explained. “We strive to keep in touch with the children we have treated over the years and are particularly grateful for the interest and commitment of families who agree to collaborate in research. This type of long-term study would be impossible without this partnership between the clinic and former patients and their families,” Dr. Heyman said.
© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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