OCD and Anorexia Nervosa

OCD is a disorder marked by repeating ideas, feelings, or visions (obsessions) and conventional, repeated behaviors (compulsions) that come out in reaction to the obsessions (Powell, p. 343). 

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder that displays a person's inability to maintain a reasonably healthy weight for their height or their inability to eat enough food.

There has previously been evidence linking OCD and anorexia nervosa to one another. OCD appears in 35–44% of patients with anorexia nervosa while anorexia nervosa is present in 10% of female patients with OCD. A study produced by HHS Public Access examined 732 women with current anorexia nervosa or recovered from anorexia nervosa who participated in the study to discover if there is a connection between OCD and anorexia nervosa among these participants. The research concluded that obsessions were heavily and positively constructed by cognitive impulsivity  (ß = 0.16, p < .001) and that compulsive tendencies were exclusive to those with current anorexia nervosa s (ß = 0.17, p < .001). Both results focused on the concern for thinness and mistake-making. 

Powell, R. A., Symbaluk, D. G., & Honey, P. L. (2023). Introduction to learning and behavior. Cengage.

Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). Anorexia nervosa. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/anorexia-nervosa

Associations between dimensions of anorexia nervosa and obsessive-compulsive disorder: An                     examination of personality and psychological factors in patients with anorexia nervosa. (2019). European Eating Disorders Review, 27(2).


  1. It is interesting to explore the correlation between physical and mental health disorders. I think many people assume that anorexia can only occur in women or people who are genetically thin. I read an article a few weeks ago discussing anorexia in the military and professional athletes. I believe it is important to understand the potential risk for an eating disorder in a profession with extreme body standard expectations. The conclusive evidence is also very interesting to read!

  2. I enjoyed reading this post about the link between OCD and Anorexia nervosa! I was surprised to learn how high the percentage of those with OCD were also struggling with Anorexia. I feel as though this should be talked about more often to eliminate any stigmas. Great insight!


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