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 most deadly 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 treatment.

  • 1 in 5 anorexia deaths is by suicide.1
  • There are over 2600 additional deaths per year from AN in the US.3
  • Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) for Anorexia Nervosa is 5.86 (SMR is a ratio between the observed number of deaths in an study population and the number of deaths would be expected).2
  • 50 to 80 percent of the risk for anorexia is genetic.4
  • 33 to 50 percent 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. We acknowledge that there are some gaps in the field about this eating disorder condition, however, our team is constantly doing their part to study and analyze anorexia 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 866-750-1137 so we can schedule a free confidential consultation with one of our Masters-level clinician.

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 or 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 singular cause. However, the evolving scientific literature suggests that this pattern of disordered eating develops from a complex interplay between genetic, psychological and sociocultural factors.

What are the health risks associated with anorexia?

There are many health risks associated with anorexia nervosa. Learn about the short-term and long-term risks to understand the effects of this disorder.

How is anorexia treated?

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

Learn about anorexia facts and statistics.

There are many misconceptions about anorexia, including the fact that it is simply being too thin.

Do I have anorexia? Take our Anorexia Quiz.

If you or a loved one struggle with some of the symptoms described here, it may be worth speaking with a clinician and considering treatment options.

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