Drug abuse in women with eating disorders




Drug abuse in women with eating disorders has received relatively little attention. The frequency of drug use disorder (DUD) by specific drug type was examined in the current longitudinal study.


In a prospective study, women diagnosed with either anorexia nervosa (AN; n = 136) or bulimia nervosa (BN; n = 110), were interviewed and assessed for research diagnostic criteria (RDC) DUD every 6–12 months over 8.6 years.


Forty-two (17%) women in the current longitudinal study had a lifetime history of DUD, with 19 prospective onsets over the course of the study (9 AN and 10 BN). The most commonly abused illicit drugs were amphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana, and rates of DUD did not differ between intake diagnoses of AN and BN.


Drug abuse in women with eating disorders is an area of clinical concern and should be monitored routinely throughout the treatment process. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2006.