By The Numbers

Kicking off a month of overshare because in this case? Oversharing can save lives. So. This month is National Eating Disorders Awareness Month!*

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Here are the facts.

An estimated 8 million Americans suffer from a diagnosable eating disorder. That means they can be diagnosed with anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), or eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).

One in two hundred American women suffers from anorexia.

Two to three in one hundred American women suffers from bulimia.

10% of anorexics are dead within 10 years of contracting the disease.

95% of girls with eating disorders are between the ages of 12-25.

The rates of eating disorders in minority women are comparable to rates of eating disorder amongst white women.

18-20% of anorexics are dead within 20 years.

20% of anorexics will die of related issues including heart complications and suicide.

Only 30-40% will recover.

Only 1 in 10 people suffering from an eating disorder gets treatment.

80% of people in treatment do not get the level or duration of treatment they require to keep them in recovery.

Average cost of inpatient treatment is $30,000.

Average cost of outpatient treatment is $100,000.

(My guess on why there are a ton of stats on anorexia is that it’s really much harder to hide anorexia given that it’s massive weight loss. Bulimics will often maintain weight and may never be outside the ‘normal’ BMI for their height. There’s an incredible amount of shame attached to bulimia versus anorexia, but that’s for a different post.)

So. I hope those numbers really caught your eye. Because this is important. We’re going to be talking about this all month and I want you to understand.

Less than half of all anorexics will recover. 95% of people with eating disorders are adolescents. And if you’re reading this blog? Chances are, you’re writing for and about this age group.

A significant percentage of your readers have an active, diagnosed eating disorder.

A majority of your female adolescent readers believe they are overweight and are or have tried to lose weight.

This is relevant to you as a writer. This is relevant to you as a reader. This is relevant to you as someone who is an active member of this culture and society. You know someone with an eating disorder, or who had an eating disorder. At the least, you’re reading the blog of someone who had one and continues to struggle.

*National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) sponsors National Eating Disorders Awareness Week which is always the last week of February. This year’s theme is “I Had No Idea” so that’s what I’m running on too this month. Because I think a lot of people DO have no idea.

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