Food addiction in anorexia nervosa: Implications for the understanding of crossover diagnosis

Isabel Sanchez, Ignacio Lucas, Lucero Munguía, Lucia Camacho-Barcia, Mónica Giménez, Jessica Sánchez-González, Roser Granero, Neus Solé-Morata, Ashley N Gearhardt, Carlos Diéguez, Susana Jiménez-Murcia, Fernando Fernández-Aranda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Food addiction (FA) construct was introduced to reflect abnormal eating patterns that resemble behavioural ones found in substance use disorders. FA has been barely explored in anorexia nervosa (AN). This study evaluated FA occurrence and associated factors in a sample of patients with AN, distinguishing between restrictive and binge-purging subtypes and focussing on the influence of FA in the crossover diagnosis between them.

METHOD: A sample of 116 patients with AN admitted for treatment seeking at an Bellvitge Hospital Eating Disorders Unit were included (72 restrictive [AN-R]; 44 binge-purge AN [AN-BP]), and eating-related, personality and psychopathological variables were assessed. Most participants were women (92.2%), mean age 27.1 years old (SD = 10.5).

RESULTS: FA was more prevalent in patients with AN-BP compared to the AN-R group (75.0% and 54.2%, respectively). The patients with AN-R FA+, presented more similar ED symptomatology, general psychopathology and personality traits, with the AN-BP patients, than with the AN-R FA-.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients with AN-R FA+, exhibit more similarities with the AN-BP subgroup than with the AN-R FA-. Thus, it is possible to hypothesise that the presence of FA might be an indicator of the possible crossover from AN-R to AN-BP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-288
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean eating disorders review (Print)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa/diagnosis
  • Binge-Eating Disorder/diagnosis
  • Bulimia Nervosa/diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders
  • Female
  • Food Addiction/epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Personality


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