Aims: This study was conducted to clarify the mortality of patients with eating disorders associated with alcoholism. We focused on the mortality rate 6 years after inpatient treatment of patients with eating disorders associated with alcoholism compared with eating disorder patients without alcoholism and alcoholic patients without eating disorders.
Methods: The subjects were 164 female Japanese patients 30 years of age or younger with eating disorders or alcoholism who were inpatients at some time during the period from 1990 to 1998 at the Japanese National Hospital Organization, Kurihama Alcoholism Center. A semi-structured interview concerning alcohol problems, eating problems, psychiatric disorders and other clinical characteristics was conducted at the time of the first admission. A survey concerning survival was conducted in October 2001, and 100% of the patients were followed up.
Results: The mortality of the 47 eating disorder patients with alcoholism, 86 eating disorder patients without alcoholism, and 31 alcoholics without eating disorders was 27.7%, 3.5%, and 19.4%, respectively, at 6 years after inpatient treatment, showing significant differences. On the Kaplan–Meier survival curves, the mortality of the eating disorder patients with alcoholism was significantly higher than that of the patients without alcoholism, but not significantly higher than that of young female alcoholics without eating disorders. The 13 eating disorder patients with alcoholism who had died were five anorexia nervosa and seven bulimia nervosa patients.
Conclusion: The results of the study suggest that comorbid alcoholism is a major factor in the death of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa patients.