Information from B-EAT – UK only
Eating disorders take many different forms, and are not easily identifiable. They include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, orthorexia and eating disorder not otherwise specified.
The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence estimates around 11% of those affected by an eating disorder are male.
Eating disorders affect all ages. Although 51% of admissions are for patients under 20, older patients are more likely to either not accept help or use outpatient services. Sufferers known to the NHS range in age from 6 to over 70.
Research suggests that around 46% of anorexia patients fully recover, a 33% improving and 20% remaining chronically ill. Similar research into bulimia suggests that 45% make a full recovery, 27% improve considerably and 23% suffer chronically.
53% of eating disorders last longer than 6 years, and around 60% of sufferers will first get help over a year after symptoms begin. Early intervention and shorter time suffering has been linked to higher rates of recovery.
Research has found that 20% of anorexia sufferers will die prematurely from their illness – meaning that it has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Bulimia and binge eating disorders also result in severe medical complications that can be life threatening.
A recent study from B-EAT and PwC outlines the significant financial impact on the UK, as well as quality of life results, of eating disorders. It estimates an annual direct financial burden of between £2.6 billion and £3.1 billion on sufferers and carers, total treatment costs to the NHS of between £3.9 billion and £ 4.6 billion (and, potentially, a further £0.9 – £1.1 billion of private treatment costs) and lost income to the economy of between £6.8 billion and £8 billion.