A pilot case series using qualitative and quantitative methods: Biological, psychological and social outcome in severe and enduring eating disorder (anorexia nervosa)

Authors

  • James Arkell MA (Cantab), MBBS, MRCPsych,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, United Kingdom
    • South Kensington and Chelsea Mental Health Centre, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, 1 Nightingale Place, London SW10 9NG, United Kingdom
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  • Paul Robinson MD, FRCP, FRCPsych

    1. Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Objective:

We explore the level of disability and quality of life in participants with severe and enduring eating disorder (anorexia nervosa).

Method:

We use qualitative and quantitative methods to assess in detail eleven participants with a 10-year history of anorexia nervosa. Outcomes for quality of life are compared with those of a sample of primary care patients with moderate–severe depression. Outcomes for living skills are compared with a standardized community sample of patients with schizophrenia.

Results:

Despite scoring highly for communication skills and levels of responsibility, participants were as impaired as the sample of patients with schizophrenia for self-care and social contact. Participants were severely depressed and scores for quality of life mirrored those of the primary care population. Qualitative data illustrate intrapersonal and interpersonal avoidance leading to self-neglect and social isolation despite social skills.

Conclusion:

Quality of life and living skills are as impaired as those of other severe and enduring mental illnesses. © 2008 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Int J Eat Disord 2008

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