Researchers based in Perth have confirmed a long-held assumption that eating disorders are common in mental health patients.
The study conducted by the Centre for Clinical Interventions found that one in 14 patients had an undiagnosed eating disorder.
The study will be published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
Lead author Dr Anthea Fursland said there was an overlap between mental health issues and eating disorders.
“A lot of people with eating disorders will also be very anxious and depressed and so I guess what they’re saying is they will tend to go to their GP or go to a mental health clinic for anxiety or depression and that’s all that’s recognised unless you dig deeper and ask about their eating behaviours,” she said.
Dr Fursland said the links need to be explored more deeply.
“It may be a symptom in its own right, some people will maybe report being anxious as a child or being depressed from an early age and so then we recognise that it is a separate issue from the eating disorder but sometimes it’s really hard to tease out if it’s a genuine anxiety or depression or if it’s a result of the eating disorder.”
This article first appeared on ABC Online on 18 October, 2013.