28.11.2014

Unintentional onset of anorexia nervosa
B.M.P. Brandenburg, and A.E. Andersen
Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa, USA

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to report a series of patients with an onset of anorexia nervosa precipitated by unintended weight loss rather than the more typical onset following intentional dieting, or the occasional iatrogenic beginning. METHOD: Retrospectively, case notes of 66 consecutive outpatient evaluations at an eating disorder diagnostic clinic between 2002 and 2006 were reviewed. RESULTS: Five cases, 7.6%, of inadvertent onset anorexia nervosa were identified. Causes of the inadvertent weight loss were varied: the mourning of a death, a parasitic infection, medication side effects and surgery. None had intended to lose weight. CONCLUSIONS: We postulate that inadvertent weight loss may be as powerful a trigger as intentional dieting to initiating anorexia nervosa in predisposed individuals; self-induced weight loss may not be a necessary precursor to anorexia nervosa. (Eating Weight Disord. 12: 97-100, 2007). ©2007, Editrice Kurtis  

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