chapter  7
Adolescent Eating Disorders and Obesity
ByStuart B. Murray, Andrea B. Goldschmidt, Daniel Le Grange
Pages 13

Eating disorders continue to rank amongst the most serious and damaging of all psychiatric disorders, and have for many years posed significant challenges for both patients and their families alike. Although the precise etiology of eating disorders is unknown, their multifactorial impact, which spans social, psychological, neurological and biological processes, has made effective treatment an elusive goal, and current leading treatment approaches are generally thought of as falling short of acceptable treatment outcomes as compared to other psychiatric conditions (Bulik, Berkman, Brownley, Sedway, & Lohr, 2007). Further compounding the complexities of effective treatment, the risk of non-effective treatment far outweighs the risk encountered in many other psychiatric conditions. For instance, in assessing the physiological and psychosocial consequences of eating disorders, research demonstrates frequent and severe medical complications with mortality rates of up to 20% (Steinhausen, 2002), vastly elevated rates of suicidality (Pompili, Mancinelli, Girardi, Ruberto,& Tatarelli, 2004), impaired quality of life (Mond, Hay, Rodgers, Owen,& Beumont, 2005), and a chronic and relapsing illness course (Treasure & Russell, 2011). Indeed, in glancing back over the recent history of the treatment of eating disorders, poor rates of full symptom remission (Steinhausen, 2002), high rates of transdiagnostic crossover between eating disorder diagnoses (Eddy et al., 2008), and high rates of relapse abound (Keel & Brown, 2010). Thus, the effective treatment of eating disorders remains of crucial importance.