Which Mental Illness Has The Highest Death Rate?

eating disorder treatment

You might be surprised as to which mental illness has has the highest mortality rate. Depression is often linked to suicide, but isn’t always the cause of it. Substance use disorders like various drug addictions have soared in fatal overdose deaths, outnumbering car accidents and gun violence. Alcoholism can cause serious health complications and lead to alcohol influenced injuries. One of the most severe and deadly mental illnesses is anorexia nervosa.

What Is Anorexia Nervosa?

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder in which someone heavily restricts their diet to the point of starvation. An unhealthy preoccupation with weight and body image leads to extreme dieting and exercise. According to the National Eating Disorder Association, “Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss…difficulties maintaining an appropriate body weight for height, age, and stature; and in many individuals, distorted body image.” Common behaviors of anorexia nervosa include:

  • Restricting calories
  • Creating restrictions on what kinds of foods they can eat
  • Compulsive exercise
  • Binging and purging
  • Deep fear of gaining weight, being perceived as “fat” and appearing imperfect to others

At the heart of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa is a need for control. Events can happen in life which feel like they take all of one’s control away. Eating and body image is a small personal way to maintain control, no matter how unhealthy those methods might be. In the brain, eating disorders become learned, habitual practices. Different from addictions, there isn’t so much a pleasure as much as there is a reward. Starvation and extreme behaviors which cause desired weight loss result in a reward, which becomes a stored learning experience.

How Anorexia Leads To Death

Malnutrition is one of the main causes of death in anorexia. The body can only sustain starvation and restriction, in addition to exercising on empty calories, for so long. Organs shut down, the brain can no longer function without sufficient food intake, and the heart is weakened. Eating disorders can lead to heart failure, which is a common cause of death.

Recovering from eating disorders like anorexia is possible with a holistic approach to treatment. At Avalon By The Sea, our beautiful estate is home to our clinically proven treatment programs which provide trusted results in healing mind, body, and spirit. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs, call us today at 1 888-958-7511.

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