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People with eating disorder may be at high risk of developing psychiatric conditions and early death: Study

A recent study has shown that people with an eating disorder are more likely to develop mental issues. Early intervention and support from loved ones are crucial for successful recovery from anorexia nervosa.

Written By: Kristina Das @https://twitter.com/KristinaDas2 New Delhi Published on: June 13, 2024 14:46 IST
Eating disorder may raise psychiatric conditions
Image Source : FREEPIK Eating disorder may raise psychiatric conditions.

Anorexics, people with an eating disorder may be more likely to experience early mortality and mental health issues, according to a study released on Wednesday.

Anorexia nervosa is described by the Mayo Clinic as an eating disorder characterized by an extremely low body weight and a strong fear of gaining weight.

What is anorexia nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight, distorted body image, and extreme restriction of food intake. It is typically seen in adolescents and young adults and is more common in females than males. People with anorexia nervosa often have a distorted perception of their body, believing they are overweight even when they are severely underweight. They may engage in excessive exercise, self-induced vomiting, or misuse of laxatives to control their weight. This disorder can result in severe physical complications such as heart problems, nutrient deficiencies, and bone loss. The psychological effects can also be damaging, causing depression, anxiety, and social isolation.

The study, published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, showed that mortality rates are high in patients with anorexia nervosa and nearly double when coupled with psychiatric conditions.

For the study, investigators analysed data on 14,774 patients who were followed for a median time of 9.1 years (and up to 40 years).

The results showed that people with anorexia nervosa had a 4.5 times higher risk of dying during follow-up compared with those in the general population.

Of all the patients, 47 per cent reported psychiatric conditions, which raised their risk of early death by 1.9-fold compared with those without.

When diagnosed between age 6 and 25 years, anorexia nervosa coupled with a psychiatric condition was associated with a 4-fold higher risk of 10-year mortality.

The mortality risk was similar according to sex. Also, 13.9 per cent of all deaths in patients with anorexia nervosa were due to suicide.

“These findings highlight the crucial need for clinicians to recognise additional mental health disorders in adolescents and adults with anorexia,” said Mette Soeby, a doctoral student at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark.

Treatment of anorexia nervosa (eating disorder)

Treatment for anorexia nervosa often involves a combination of therapy, nutrition counselling, and medication to address both the physical and psychological aspects of the disorder. 

(With IANS Inputs)

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