Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Women with Binge Eating Disorder in Primary Care

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Objective. To examine the frequency and significance of comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in ethnically diverse obese patients with binge eating disorder (BED) seeking treatment for obesity and binge eating in primary care. Methods. Participants were a consecutive series of 105 obese women with BED; 43% were African- American, 36% were Caucasian, and 21% were Hispanic-American/other. Participants were evaluated with reliable semi-structured interviews and established measures. Results. Of the 105 women, 25 (24%) met criteria for PTSD. PTSD was associated with significantly elevated rates of mood, anxiety, and drug use disorders, significantly elevated eating disorder psychopathology (Eating Disorder Examination global score and scales), greater depressive affect, and lower self-esteem, even though the patients with comorbid PTSD did not have higher body mass indexes (BMIs) or greater frequency of binge eating. The heightened eating disorder psychopathology and depression and the lower self-esteem among patients with comorbid PTSD persisted even after controlling for anxiety disorder comorbidity. Conclusions.Our findings suggest that among ethnically/ racially diverse obese women with BED who present for obesity and binge eating treatment in primary care settings, PTSD is common and is associated with heightened psychiatric comorbidity, greater eating disorder psychopathology, and poorer psychological functioning. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2012;18:408–412)

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