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Anorexia Facts and Statistics


statistics about anorexia

Anorexia nervosa, often referred to as anorexia, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health illness under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic, anorexia is “characterized by an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight.” Though anorexia can manifest at any age, research suggests it most commonly develops during adolescence. Teens struggling with anorexia may exhibit behavioral warning signs such as skipping meals, over-exercising, obsessively reading nutritional information, constantly weighing themselves, regularly making excuses not to eat, denial of a problem despite excessive weight loss, etc. Young people diagnosed with anorexia engage in a cycle of self-starvation that often results in malnutrition including a lack of essential minerals and nutrients. There are myriad adverse short and long-term effects of anorexia, and without proper treatment anorexia can lead to life-threatening consequences. 

Facts and Stats

There are several eye-opening facts and statistics related to anorexia, as well as many misconceptions about this eating disorder. 

  • There is currently no medication approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of anorexia nervosa.
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will die prematurely due to complications related to their eating disorder.
  • 1 in 5 anorexia deaths are by suicide.
  • The mortality rate associated with anorexia is 12 times higher than the death rate of all causes of death for females age 15 to 24 years old.
  • Black people are less likely to be diagnosed with anorexia than white people but may experience the condition for a longer period.
  • A study conducted by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported the following findings:
  • 510% of anorexics will die within 10 years after contracting the disease
  • 1820% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years of contracting the disease
  • 30 40% of individuals diagnosed with anorexia will fully recover
  • An estimated 10 — 15% of people with anorexia or bulimia are males.
  • 20% of women diagnosed with anorexia have high levels of autistic traits.
  • Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents.

The exact cause behind why a teenager develops an eating disorders remains unknown, but research has found that it is likely due to a combination of psychological, biological, and environmental factors. 

For Information and Support

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person for the long term. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about the program at Pacific Teen Treatment and how we might be able to help your family. We can be reached by phone 24/7 at 800-531-5769. You can also contact us via email at

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