Objective We assessed the detection, treatment and outcomes of DSM-5 eating disorders in a nationwide community setting.
Method The FinnTwin12 cohort comprises twins born in 1983-1987 in Finland (n = 5,600), with follow-up starting at age 12. We outline treatment and outcomes of the 127 females and 15 males diagnosed with a lifetime DSM-5 eating disorder in interviews conducted for a subsample (n = 1,347) in their early 20s.
Results Only 45 (32%) of those diagnosed with eating disorder in the interviews had their condition detected in healthcare, and even fewer received treatment (30% of females, 13% of males). Anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa, and atypical AN were detected and treated more often than other eating disorders. Five years after disease onset, 41% of those diagnosed had recovered. There were no statistically significant differences in the course of different eating disorders (log-rank p = 0.66) but the outcome was more favourable among males (log-rank p = 0.008). The likelihood of 5-year recovery did not differ between those who had and who had not received treatment (41.1% vs. 40.5%, log-rank p = 0.66).
Conclusion Although eating disorders are common and symptoms are persistent for many, they remain under-diagnosed and under-treated. In real-world settings, effectiveness of provided treatments may be limited.
Fields of Science
- eating disorders
- 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health