Research Article|Articles in Press

Through the Looking Glass: Skin Signs that Help Diagnose Eating Disorders


      Eating disorders (EDs) such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa have a plethora of skin manifestations. They can be categorized into skin signs of self-purging, skin signs of starvation, skin signs related to drug abuse, skin signs of psychiatric comorbidity, and miscellaneous signs. “Guiding signs” are valuable, because they are pointers to the diagnosis of an ED. They include hypertrichosis (lanugo-like hair), Russell's sign (knuckle calluses), self-induced dermatitis, and perimylolysis (tooth enamel erosion). Practitioners should recognize such skin signs promptly, as this helps to diagnose early which may improve the prognosis of ED. Management requires a multidisciplinary approach that focuses on psychotherapy combined with attention to medical complications, nutritional needs, and such non-psychiatric findings such as cutaneous manifestations. Psychotropic medications that are currently used in EDs include pimozide and atypical antipsychotic agents, such as aripiprazole and olanzapine, fluoxetine, and lisdexamfetamine.


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