Is Anorexia Nervosa a Version of Autism Spectrum Disorders?

Patients with anorexia nervosa often have difficulties recognizing and regulating emotions. This  conclusion that is largely based on data from  common tests such as Reading the Mind in the Eyes assessing  emotion recognition, and questionnaires like Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) assessing emotion regulation (see my post here).  Although that study compared currently ill patients with healthy controls (thus raising the possibility that the resulting data was due to the effects of starvation or due to the chronic nature of the ED  in the sample, ~7.5 year on average), there is some evidence that some of these difficulties persist post-recovery.

Individuals with autism (ASD, or autism spectrum disorders) also have difficulties with emotion recognition and regulation, leading some investigators to hypothesize that AN and ASD may share common etiology. Providing further support for this hypothesis are studies suggesting that AN might be overrepresented in ASD … Continue reading →

Emotion Recognition and Regulation in Anorexia Nervosa

Should anorexia nervosa (AN) – or subtypes of AN – be classified as part of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD)? That’s a question that has been receiving some attention in the literature in the last few years, although there are only a handful of studies, most of which are small and limited in scope (thus limiting interpretation of the results).

In the Time Magazine article  “A Genetic Link Between Anorexia and Autism?” the author mentions a study – which I decided to cover today – on emotion regulation and recognition in patients with AN. It is not directly evaluating the link between AN and ASD, but it is related and a good starting point. I was originally going to write about two papers, but I will save the other one  (Is anorexia nervosa a version of autism spectrum disorders?) for another time.

The study design in this paper … Continue reading →