The aims of this prospective study were (1) to report on the 2-year outcome of chronically ill adult eating disorder patients, (2) to investigate whether a specialized inpatient treatment might influence the course of the illness, and (3) to search for prognostic factors.
Seventy-two patients were treated in a 4–5-month specialized group treatment programme for chronically ill adults with eating disorders. Sixty-five (90%) with mean age of 30 years were available for the follow-up assessment.
Forty-six (71%) patients had improved at the 2-year follow-up and 17 (26%) did not meet diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder. The symptom reductions per time were statistically significantly larger during the inpatient period compared to the waiting-list and follow-up periods. No significant predictors of treatment outcome were found. Patients with avoidant personality disorder had a higher level of distress at all times, but improved at the same rate as the others.
At the 2-year follow-up, there were substantial reductions in eating disorder symptoms and general psychiatric symptoms. Most of the improvement occurred during inpatient treatment, which might be an option for chronic eating disorders. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.