Important facts about eating disorders


  • Eating disorders will affect approximately 4 in 50 women and 1 in 50 men.



  • Eating disorders are a group of recognised mental health conditions. 



  • Eating disorders most commonly start in adolescence, but also occur in adults.



  • Eating disorders can affect anyone.



  • There is no one cause for eating disorders – they are associated with a combination of causal factors such as genetics (50-60%), nutrition, puberty, certain personality traits, trauma, stress etc. Eating disorders are not a lifestyle choice.



  • It can be hard for a person with an eating disorder to get better alone. A strong support network of families, carers, friends makes all the difference.




  • Eating disorders cause psychological and physical complications and some of these are life-threatening. 



  • With early intervention and evidence-based treatment, the chance of recovery is very good. 



  • Specialist outpatient treatment has been found to be a very effective care setting for recovery for most people and for most eating disorders. A small number of people will need to receive some of their treatment in an inpatient setting.



  • Although Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is the least common, people with it experience higher risk of medical complications. Anorexia Nervosa has the highest level of mortality and co-occurring conditions of all of the mental health conditions.



  • The most common eating disorder is Binge Eating Disorder, and this can usually be managed with guided self-help. See our Guided Self Help section.



  • People can have eating disorders at any weight, shape, age and size’ 

 

​​Dr Sara McDevitt talks about weight and eating disorders