Watch CBS News

Anorexia Is Most Deadly Eating Disorder, Study Finds

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's the deadliest psychiatric disorder and treatment works best if started early.

Anorexia is a refusal to maintain a healthy weight and it puts people at a 12-times greater risk of death than others the same age, according to Dr. Stacey Cahn, associate professor of psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

"A lot of psychiatric disorders are associated with a lot of emotional suffering," Cahn says. "Anorexia is associated with extreme medical risks, it can cause osteoporosis, lower heart rate, it can lead to death."

She says family members must step in quickly when symptoms arise.

"Significant weight loss that isn't explained by a medical condition," Cahn says, "or in younger children a failure to gain weight and to grow, a pre-occupation with food or weight and showing up to meals having quote just eaten.

There are no drugs for treatment of anorexia, only therapy.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.