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Keywords:

  • anorexia nervosa;
  • bulimia nervosa;
  • eating disorders;
  • substance-related disorders;
  • Goodman's addictive disorder criteria;
  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory addiction potential;
  • sensation seeking

Abstract

The aim of this study was to examine how far Goodman's addictive disorder criteria were met by individuals with eating disorders according to subtypes. The study provided a cross-sectional comparison among three samples of eating disorders [restricting anorexia nervosa (R-AN), N = 68; purging anorexia nervosa (P-AN), N = 42; and bulimia nervosa (BN), N = 66], a sample of substance-related disorders (SRDs, N = 48) and a sample of matched controls (N = 201). Diagnosis of addictive disorder was made following Goodman's criteria. Addictive personality traits were assessed with the Addiction Potential Scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory—2 and with the Zuckerman's Sensation Seeking Scale. Results showed that individuals with BN met Goodman's addictive disorder criteria in the same proportion as drug-addicted individuals (65% vs 60%, p = NS). They both showed higher rates than R-AN individuals (35%; R-AN versus BN: F = 11.9, p < 0.001 and R-AN versus SRD: F = 7.16, p < 0.01). Although BN and SRD showed higher rates of addictive disorders compared with P-AN, differences were not significant. Scores on the Sensation Seeking and on the Addictive Potential scales paralleled the distribution of addictive disorders, with individuals with BN and with P-AN showing higher levels than individuals with R-AN. Results showed that a subgroup of individuals with an eating disorder experiences their disorder as an addiction and may deserve specific therapeutic attention. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.