2. The Assessment of Mental State, Psychiatric Risk and Co-Morbidity in Eating Disorders

  1. John R. E. Fox2 and
  2. Ken P. Goss3
  1. Hannah Andrews

Published Online: 3 OCT 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118328910.ch2

Eating and its Disorders

Eating and its Disorders

How to Cite

Andrews, H. (2012) The Assessment of Mental State, Psychiatric Risk and Co-Morbidity in Eating Disorders, in Eating and its Disorders (eds J. R. E. Fox and K. P. Goss), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118328910.ch2

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester, UK

  2. 3

    Coventry Eating Disorders Service, United Kingdom

Author Information

  1. Coventry Eating Disorder Service (CEDS), UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 3 OCT 2012
  2. Published Print: 9 OCT 2012

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470683545

Online ISBN: 9781118328910



  • co-morbidity;
  • eating disorders (EDs);
  • mental health problems;
  • mental health risk assessment;
  • mental state examination (MSE);
  • psychiatric risk


This chapter provides an overview of the factors involved in assessing psychiatric risk (including a mental state examination (MSE)) and co-morbidity of diagnoses. The following headings/domains can be used as a way of structuring the MSE: appearance, rapport, behaviour, mood (subjective/objective), speech, thought process/content, perceptions, cognition, insight and capacity/judgement. The MSE provides the clinician with a general overview of psychosocial function and can alert them to the possibility of co-morbid mental health possibilities that may predate or run concurrently with an eating disorder (ED). The most common co-morbid mental health problems for eating-disordered clients are depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). In addition to medical risk, the following factors should be assessed as part of a mental health risk assessment: self-harm/suicide, neglect, violence/aggression, physical, social, substance misuse and abuse.