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Anorexia Mortality Rate & Treatment Options

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Studies have shown that anorexia has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric illnesses. When the concern of being overweight turns into an obsession, it can be harmful to a person’s health and often times turns into a tough battle known as anorexia. Healthy eating habits and exercising are normal parts of life that people who are anorexic have to work hard to maintain and find a balance.

According to American neuroscientist Thomas Insel, a former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, anorexia nervosa is the most dangerous of all psychiatric illnesses when it comes to mortality rates. In a post on the NIMH website, Dr. Insel writes, “What is the most fatal mental disorder? The answer, which may surprise you, is anorexia nervosa. It has an estimated mortality rate of around 10 percent.”

When asked what is the cause of this high rate of mortality, Insel admits that the answer is complicated. With a pall hanging over his words, he writes, “While many young women and men with this disorder die from starvation and metabolic collapse, others die of suicide, which is much more common in women with anorexia than most other mental disorders.”

Thousands of Americans suffer from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder based on the fear of gaining weight. This is a disorder that is characterized by self-criticism of body shape and size. Patients often restrict their diet, or starve themselves in order to keep their weight off due to an unending desire to be thin.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, sufferers show signs of:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Inability to stand up on their own
  • Dry skin and hair
  • Notable muscle loss
  • Fainting
  • Constipation
  • Infertility
  • Heart damage
  • Decrease in body temperature.

Facts About Anorexia Nervosa

NIMH also reports anorexia is often a sign of a mental illness. People who have this disorder may display depression, substance abuse, or an anxiety disorder. Anorexia is fairly common during adolescence, but can develop as early as childhood. One study shows that elementary school girls, ages 6 to 12, are at risk for developing anorexia.

One study reveals that women with the condition, between the ages of 15 and 24, face a mortality rate 12 times higher than any other cause of death. The stakes are high considering the fact that this condition can be fatal. In addition, research confirms anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders.

The causes of this illness are not completely certain, but researchers indicate that it can be a combination of several factors. These include genetics and psychology, as well as behavioral and social components. Consequently, medical professionals must apply various methods, including psychotherapy, behavior modification, and nutritional counseling. One of the main focuses of treatment is to change the patient’s negative self-perception to a more positive one.

Infographic: Study Shows Anorexia Has Highest Rate of All Psychiatric Illnesses

Image courtesy of Alex Jones via Unsplash.

Get Treatment for Anorexia Today

Teen treatment has been proven effective and may be the key to altering the mortality rate of this illness. A well-rounded approach can teach teens healthier habits and behaviors. In conclusion, we need to stop this disorder from reaching further into the minds of teens. Contact Newport Academy today for more information on treating anorexia nervosa.