National Eating Disorder Awareness Week

NIMH Directors Blog
Thomas Insel

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.i What is the cause of this high rate of mortality? The answer is complicated. 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.

The last week of February is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. We often hear about the epidemic of obesity and the health consequences of over-eating, but the perils of anorexia and bulimia are less recognized. Here are some little known facts about eating disorders, all gleaned from NIMH-funded research.

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