Although eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder, the mortality rates reported on those who suffer from eating disorders can vary considerably between studies and sources. Part of the reason why there is a large variance in the reported number of deaths caused by eating disorders is because those who suffer from an eating disorder may ultimately die of heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition or suicide. Often, the medical complications of death are reported instead of the eating disorder that compromised a person’s health.
According to a study done by colleagues at the American Journal of Psychiatry (2009), crude mortality rates were:
• 4% for anorexia nervosa
• 3.9% for bulimia nervosa
• 5.2% for eating disorder not otherwise specified”
It frustrates me when people act like (or outright say) that anorexia is either the only dangerous eating disorder, or is the most dangerous. EDNOS is by far the most dangerous by every estimate I’ve seen.
The thing with anorexia is that malnutrition is pretty easy to link to the eating disorder. Things like heart failure or internal bleeding from bulimia are a lot harder to link to it, unless the coroner is informed that the patient had an eating disorder, and then is still often not put as the cause of death.
While there is no definitive number of eating disorder-related deaths, all eating disorders are dangerous. Never assume that because you or a loved-one doesn’t have anorexia that you are “safe” or in less danger. You may actually be at higher risk.
A great post.
There are many things that all sufferers of an eating disorder have in common, whether they deal primarily with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, or EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified). Many a book, lecture and website has been filled with a detailing of the commonalities, such as low self-esteem, bad body image, a history of painful life events, a lack of healthy coping skills, and not knowing how to get help.
As well, virtually all approaches to recovery from an eating disorder have things in common. Therapists, doctors, inpatient professionals, nutritionists, co-sufferers and others usually recognize that everyone who wants to recover must address their fears, assumptions, and painful emotions. They must challenge beliefs that have held them down for a long time. They must show up to their treatment appointments and do the homework it takes to apply those lessons to their lives. They must take stock of their…
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I got a text from a friend earlier asking how I am and what I’ve been up to. I always hate being asked what I’ve been up to.
“Oh, you know, binging and purging since I woke up, dissolving laxatives in water to make them work faster, trying to put together my exercise bike so I can go back to obsessing over exercise, etc, and so on and so forth…”
I’m not telling them that.
“Oh, you know…studying…watching Netflix…”
That’s partially true. I watch Netflix sometimes when I binge.
“Well, I robbed a bank last week. It wasn’t for the money, it was just for the thrill of it. Now I freak out whenever I hear sirens. You??”
Seriously, I just never know how to respond to this.
I pulled my bike out of its box, ready to put it together. Today is the day! I’m going to put this thing together and start using that sucker!
To my surprise, the bike has about a million pieces. A million…separate…pieces.
Naturally, I searched for the instruction manual straight away. Of course, I open it up to see:
This, naturally, made me feel a little overwhelmed. I responded in the only logical way: I pushed the pieces aside, and grabbed food to binge and purge.