Do Eating Disorders Have The Highest Mortality Rate Of All Mental Illnesses?

Many studies, meta-reviews, and meta-analyses reveal the high mortality rates for eating disorders, anorexia nervosa. (Meta-analyses and meta-reviews involve researchers reading and compiling the results from many studies and use complex statistics to identify bigger trends).

Is it the highest? It depends a bit on what you mean by “mental illness type”. It’s among the highest.

The most recent meta-review published in 2014 found that while the mortality ratio for eating disorders is higher than for most other psychiatric disorders, some substance use disorders had higher mortality ratios.

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As an “adult anorexic”, studying at university, Hart slipped through the net so many times, it could no longer even be described as a net – just a few broken strings flapping uselessly over an abyss. It comes as a small comfort to the Harts that since Averil’s death, and others like it, £150m has been invested in NHS eating disorder services, including introducing the first-ever eating disorder waiting time standards. However, it seems that changes need to go even beyond that; into wider society, where anorexia (I’m employing it as a blanket term for all food disorders) needs to be respected for what it is – a deadly psychiatric condition, where rejection of food is merely a symptom

These comorbid conditions can further complicate treatment and the ability of the patient to make progress toward recovery. Support systems, access to care, and reduction of triggering factors involved with anorexia nervosa are also vital for a patient to make progress versus spiraling into life-threatening situations and complications.

Sullivan conducted a meta-analytic study, reviewing 42 published studies to estimate the mortality associated with anorexia nervosa over time. He found a mortality rate of 5.9% (or 0.56% per year) and concluded that this rate is substantially greater than that reported for female psychiatric inpatients and the general population (Sullivan,1995).

Treating a condition like depression or anxiety can prove costly in a myriad of ways. Almost half of the psychiatrists don’t take private insurance, raising the odds that you’ll have to go out of network for care and shoulder higher out-of-pocket expenses as a result. Prescription-drug bills can be an ongoing drag on your budget. Insurance claims seem to be denied at higher rates than those for medical care are.

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Before I got sick I always had this idea that people who get sick are taken care of,’ she told the ABC’s 7.30 Report.

‘And it was such a sharp and steep learning curve to discover that really isn’t the case.’

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Treatment for eating disorders falls under the Government’s mental health care plan which provides Medicare rebates for 10 sessions with a specialist, but after that patient are left to pay for themselves.

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