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Background. In bulimic syndromes, binge episodes are thought to be caused by dietary restraint and negative moods. However, as central serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine: 5-HT) mechanisms regulate appetite and mood, the 5-HT system could be implicated in diet- and mood-based binge antecedents.
Method. We used hand-held computers to obtain repeated ‘online’ measurements of eating behaviors, moods, and self-concepts in 21 women with bulimic syndromes, and modeled 5-HT system activity with a measure of platelet [3H]paroxetine-binding density.
Results. Mood and self-concept ratings were found to be worse before binge episodes (than at other moments), and cognitive restraint was increased. After binges, mood and self-concept deteriorated further, and thoughts of dieting became more intense. Intriguingly, lower paroxetine-binding density predicted poorer mood and self-concept before a binge, larger post-binge decrements in mood and self-concept, and larger post-binge increases in dietary restraint.
Conclusions. Paroxetine binding thus seemed to reflect processes that impacted upon mood-related antecedents to binge episodes, and consequences implicating mood and dietary restraint.
Background. There is empirical evidence suggesting that individuals with bulimia nervosa vary considerably in terms of psychiatric co-morbidity and personality functioning. In this study, latent profile analysis was used to attempt to identify clusters of bulimic subjects based on psychiatric co-morbidity and personality.
Method. A total of 178 women with bulimia nervosa or a subclinical variant of bulimia nervosa completed a series of self-report inventories of co-morbid psychopathology and personality, and also provided a buccal smear sample for genetic analyses.
Results. Three clusters of bulimic women were identified: an affective-perfectionistic cluster, an impulsive cluster, and a low co-morbid psychopathology cluster. The clusters showed expected differences on external validation tests with both personality and eating-disorder measures. The impulsive cluster showed the highest elevations on dissocial behavior and the lowest scores on compulsivity, while the affective-perfectionistic cluster showed the highest levels of eating-disorder symptoms. The clusters did not differ on genetic variations of the serotonin transporter gene.
Conclusions. This study corroborates previous findings suggesting that the bulimia nervosa diagnostic category is comprised of three classes of individuals based on co-morbid psychopathology and personality. These differences may have significant etiological and treatment implications.
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