BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Food addiction (FA) and substance use (SU) have frequently been reported in patients with eating disorders (EDs). Our study aimed to assess the prevalence rates of FA and/or lifetime problematic alcohol and illicit drug use among patients with specific ED, such as: bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), and other specified feeding and eating disorder (OSFED). We sought to identify clinical, psychopathological, and personality profiles involved in these addictive behavior-based phenotypes.
METHODS: The total sample was 527 patients (176 BN, 115 BED, and 236 OSFED). FA was assessed through the Yale Food Addiction Scale 2.0. To determine lifetime SU, a semi-structured clinical interview was carried out.
RESULTS: Patients with BN had the highest rates of FA both with and without SU. No gender differences were obtained for the prevalence of current FA and/or lifetime SU. Patients reporting at least one addictive-related behavior exhibited increased clinical severity compared to those who reported none. Increased impulsivity (such as high lack of premeditation, sensation seeking, and positive urgency) and low self-directedness were differentiating factors for presenting one or two addictive behaviors.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS: Overall, patients presenting with at least one addictive-like behavior reported a poorer clinical status than those without. Also, patients with FA and SU exhibited a more dysfunctional profile characterized by high impulsivity and low self-directedness. These findings would support the need for targeted treatments to reduce impulsivity and increase self-directedness, especially in patients with any addictive-related behavior, as a step towards improving their treatment outcome.
- Binge-Eating Disorder/epidemiology
- Bulimia Nervosa/epidemiology
- Feeding and Eating Disorders/epidemiology
- Food Addiction/epidemiology
- Illicit Drugs