In addition to abnormal eating and weight issues, people with eating disorders have an increased risk of developing other psychiatric illnesses. Studies show that depression occurs in up to 50 percent of people with eating disorders and appears to be strongly linked to the abnormal eating behavior. Depression is difficult to treat in someone with an eating disorder if his or her eating disorder is not treated at the same time. However, when the eating disorder is treated, 75 percent of the time depression symptoms improve as well.
Anxiety disorders also occur frequently in people with eating disorders. Anxiety about food and weight are characteristic of these illnesses, however, studies show that people with eating disorders have increased rates of social anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. As opposed to depression, anxiety disorders frequently predate the onset of the eating disorder and in that sense, may represent a trait for those who are at risk for developing an eating disorder.