Eating disorders are relatively common among patients with bipolar disorder. Overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity are common in this patient group. Eating disorders in these patients not only increase the risk for further episodes but also have a detrimental effect on the body and may eventually prove fatal if left untreated.
Aim of the study
To assess eating disorders in female bipolar patients and the relation between eating disorders and both obesity and disturbed body image in these patients.
Participants and methods
A case–control cross-sectional study, in which 60 female bipolar patients were recruited from the Psychiatric Department and clinic of Kasr al Aini Hospital and compared with 30 female healthy controls.
The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, the Young Mania Rating Scale, the Eating Disorder Test, and the Body Image Scale were used and BMI was determined.
There was a statistically significant difference between the case and the control group in terms of eating disorders as 80% of the cases had eating disorders compared with only 16.1% of the control group (P=0.000). The eating disorders were most frequent during a manic episode (100%), followed by a mixed episode (92.9), a depressive episode (90.9%), and finally euthymia (41.4%). There was also a statistically significant difference between the case and the control group in terms of disturbed body image as cases reported more disturbed body image (P=0.000). There was no statistically significant difference between the case and the control group in terms of obesity, but we found a positive correlation between obesity and disturbed body image in the case group.
Eating disorders are more frequent in female bipolar disorder patients, especially during a manic episode; also, obesity is common among these patients, especially those who take atypical antipsychotics, and these obese patients have a more disturbed body image.