Background: Eating disorders (EDs) show a varying course and outcome. Within 10 years, between half and three-quarters of patients recover from their disorder. There is, however, a lack of consensus in how to define recovery. Aims: The aim of the present naturalistic study was to assess clinical and full recovery in ED patients 5 years after initiated treatment at a specialized outpatient unit for EDs. Methods: Data was collected at three time points: after the investigation period (T1), at the end of treatment (T2) and 5 years after the beginning of treatment (T3). Data at T1 and T2 were collected from patient records, and at T3 using a questionnaire. The number of participants was 71 and response rate 78%. Results: At T3, the proportion in clinical recovery was 83.1%, with no significant differences between diagnostic groups. The proportion in full recovery, i.e. in addition to a subjective account of being fully recovered, presenting no physical, behavioural or psychological ED symptoms, was 40.8%. Conclusions: For most ED patients, outpatient treatment is sufficient to enable recovery. How to define and measure recovery still warrants discussion.
- Eating disorders