Exploring Alcohol-Related Behaviours in an Adult Sample with Anorexia Nervosa and Those in Recovery

Zara Smalley, Maria Livanou, Bethan Dalton, Olivia Patsalos, Jessica Wilks, Johanna Louise Keeler, Janet Treasure, Ulrike Schmidt, Grace Hill, Hubertus Himmerich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While individuals with Bulimia Nervosa (BN) and Binge Eating Disorder (BED) often present with a higher rate of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) than the general population, it is unclear whether this extends to AN. This cross-sectional study examined differences in alcohol-related behaviours, measured using the Alcohol Use Identification Test (AUDIT), between AN participants (n = 58), recovered AN (rec-AN) participants (n = 25), and healthy controls (n = 57). Statistical models controlled for age and ethnicity. The relationship between alcohol-related behaviours with ED psychopathology and with depression was also assessed. The findings indicated that acute AN participants were not at greater risk of AUD than healthy controls. However, rec-AN participants displayed greater total audit scores than those with acute AN, and more alcohol-related behaviours than healthy controls. Acute AN participants consumed significantly less alcohol than both the healthy control group and rec-AN group. No associations were found between ED psychopathology and alcohol-related behaviours in the AN group or rec-AN. This highlights alcohol as a potential coping mechanism following AN recovery. Clinicians should consider assessments for AUD and targeted interventions aimed at encouraging healthy coping mechanisms in this group. Future studies should look at alcohol use as a moderating factor for AN recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number732
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2024


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