Eating disorder statistics

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Eating disorders overview

Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder (BED) and other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED), are responsible for more loss of life than any other mental health condition. Unfortunately, eating disorders are becoming increasingly common. Over the last 30 to 40 years, the prevalence of eating disorders has increased to become a widespread problem across the UK and worldwide.

At Priory, we understand that it can be difficult to cope with an eating disorder. However, if you think that you or someone you know may be struggling with an eating disorder, it's crucial to know that you're not alone and that expert help is available. Priory is the UK’s largest independent provider of eating disorder treatment in the UK, with hospitals and wellbeing centres across the country offering expert, established eating disorder treatment.

Our highly trained treatment team recognise that eating disorders are complex conditions that are unique to each person. As such, we tailor our treatment programmes to meet the individual needs of everyone we support, helping you to tackle your symptoms, address any causes and triggers for your destructive eating habits, and achieve a full and sustainable recovery.

UK eating disorder statistics

Research suggests that:

  • Between 1.25 and 3.4 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder
  • Around 25% of those affected by an eating disorder are male
  • Most eating disorders develop during adolescence, although there are cases of eating disorders developing in children as young as 6 and in adults in their 70s
  • Eating disorders are most common in people between the ages of 16 and 40 years old
  • Around 10% of people affected by an eating disorder suffer from anorexia nervosa
  • The average age of onset for anorexia nervosa is 16 to 17 years old
  • 40% of people affected by an eating disorder suffer from bulimia nervosa
  • The average age of onset for bulimia nervosa is 18 to 19 years old
  • The rest of sufferers fall into the BED or OSFED categories of eating disorders
  • Research suggests that people who have family members with eating disorders are more likely to develop eating disorders themselves when compared to people who have no family history of these illnesses
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates among psychiatric disorders
  • Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder in adolescence
  • The earlier someone gets eating disorder treatment, the better their chance of recovery

These UK eating disorder statistics have been collated from data published by Beat, and Anorexia and Bulimia Care.

Eating disorder treatment at Priory

We can treat a range of eating disorders, including:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Anorexia athletica
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder (BED)
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED), also known as ‘atypical eating disorders’ or ‘eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS)’
  • Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)

At Priory, we can deliver a range of eating disorder treatment programmes, as well as a variety of therapy types and formats, helping you to get back on track.

Our expert eating disorder treatment programmes

The type of treatment you receive while you’re with us will depend on your personal needs, and factors such as:

  • How severe your eating disorder is
  • What symptoms you’re experiencing
  • Your body mass index (BMI)
  • Your overall physical health

We offer a number of treatment programmes to help with your eating disorder. For more information on these, you can visit our treatment programmes page.

  • Outpatient treatment programme
  • Day care programme
  • Inpatient (residential) treatment programme

We can also deliver eating disorder therapy in a number of different formats. Our therapy formats include:

  • 1:1 therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family and couples therapy

Contact us to make an enquiry or for more information

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