Condition Menu

Anorexia Can Affect Anyone

Anorexia nervosa is an illness that impacts women, men, adolescents, and children. It does not discriminate. It affects all ethnicities, cultures, and socioeconomic groups. It is also the deadliest mental illness, with a higher mortality rate than any other mental illness. That’s why it’s important to understand the symptoms and complications of anorexia as well as the facts and statistics about anorexia.

What are the Facts About Anorexia Nervosa?

When it comes to fully understanding anorexia nervosa, there are many facts as well as misconceptions about this eating disorder. If you or a loved one is suffering from anorexia, learning more about this condition may help you understand the severity and importance of seeking anorexia treatment.

  • 1 in 5 deaths in patients with anorexia is by suicide.1
  • Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) for anorexia nervosa is 5.86 (SMR is a ratio between the observed number of deaths in a study population and the number of deaths that would be expected).2
  • There are over 2,600 additional deaths per year from anorexia nervosa in the US.3
  • 50 - 80% of the risk for anorexia is genetic.4
  • 33 - 50% of anorexia patients have a comorbid mood disorder, such as depression. Mood disorders are more common in the binge/purge subtype than in the restrictive subtype.5
  • About half of anorexia patients have comorbid anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder and social phobia.5
  1. Hudson, J. I., Hiripi, E., Pope, H. G., & Kessler, R. C. (2007). The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the national comorbidity survey replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61(3), 348–358.
  2. Arcelus, J., Mitchell, A. J., Wales, J., & Nielsen, S. (2011). Mortality rates in patients with anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders: a meta-analysis of 36 studies. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68(7), 724-731.
  3. Trace, S. E., Baker, J. H., Peñas-Lledó, E., & Bulik, C. M. (2013). The genetics of eating disorders. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 9, 589-620.
  4. Ulfvebrand, S., Birgegard, A., Norring, C., Hogdahl, L., & von Hausswolff-Juhlin, Y. (2015). Psychiatric comorbidity in women and men with eating disorders results from a large clinical database. Psychiatry Research, 230(2), 294-299.
  5. Deloitte Access Economics. The Social and Economic Cost of Eating Disorders in the United States of America: A Report for the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders and the Academy for Eating Disorders. June 2020.
    Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/report-economic-costs-of-eating-disorders/

Gaps in Anorexia Research

As one of the deadliest mental health illnesses, the research around anorexia nervosa is ongoing. While there are some gaps in the research on this eating disorder, our team is constantly doing their part to study and understand anorexia in order to improve our specialized treatment approach.

people at a table
girl with coffee

It's Never Too Late to Seek Help for Anorexia

When treating anorexia, time is of the essence. It’s imperative that anyone exhibiting signs of anorexia get help as quickly as possible to minimize the physical complications associated with anorexia.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder such as anorexia, please contact us at 877-825-8584 so we can schedule a free confidential consultation with one of our master’s-level clinicians.

Anorexia FAQ/More Information

What is anorexia nervosa?

Although research about anorexia nervosa is ongoing, there is a lot you can learn about this eating disorder to understand how to get help for yourself or how to help a loved one.

Learn more about anorexia, including the causes, symptoms and available treatment options.

What causes anorexia?

As with other eating disorders, anorexia has no single cause. However, research suggests that eating disorders stem from a variety of genetic, psychological, and sociocultural factors.

Learn more about the factors that contribute to anorexia here.

What are the symptoms of anorexia?

Anorexia is one of the deadliest mental illnesses. It is crucial to understand the warning signs and symptoms of this complex condition.

Learn about the signs and symptoms of anorexia here.

What are the health risks associated with anorexia?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious and sometimes fatal condition that can affect nearly every system of the body. There are many short-term and long-term health risks associated with anorexia nervosa.

Learn about anorexia health risks today.

How is anorexia treated?

Anorexia treatment is personalized, depending on each patient’s needs. Medical stabilization, psychiatric stabilization, nutritional rehabilitation, and weight restoration (when appropriate) are all considered when determining a patient’s treatment plan.

Learn more about anorexia treatment options here.

What are the facts about anorexia?

A devastating illness that often requires intensive treatment, anorexia takes the lives of far too many people each year.

Discover anorexia facts and statistics here.

Do I have anorexia?

If you or a loved one struggle with some of the symptoms described here, we can help you explore anorexia treatment options.

Take our anorexia self-assessment quiz today.

Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

Joint Commission Seal