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Anorexia Resurgence Can Occur After Smoking Cessation

Case report describes two patients who started to display food restriction following weight gain

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking cessation may be associated with resurgence of anorexic symptoms in patients with a history of anorexia nervosa, according to a clinical case report published in the September issue of the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Nicolas Simioni, M.D., and Olivier Cottencin, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Lille in France, describe resurgence of anorexic symptoms during a smoking cessation program in two patients with a history of anorexia nervosa.

The researchers found that the resurgence of symptoms of anorexia occurred rapidly after having reached tobacco abstinence. The patients explained that they had gained weight following smoking cessation, in association with increased appetite. Both experienced weight and shape concerns and started to display food restriction, followed by an increase in the frequency of binge eating episodes and induced vomiting to deal with the weight gain. Both reported subsequent weight loss and decided to start smoking again.

"Given the potential serious consequences, further research is needed to determine whether such events are frequent during smoking cessation but being unseen because of being hidden in the loss to follow-up," the authors write. "This report also suggests that systematic screening for both binge eating and anorexic behaviors during smoking cessation is warranted."

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