In the largest and most comprehensive survey of eating disorders yet, a sample consisting of more than 10,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 yielded surprising and disturbing information: over half a million U.S. adolescents have an eating disorder. Using data from interviews taken with kids and parents from 2002 to 2004, the study found that 1.5 percent of teens had a binge-eating disorder, a bit under one percent experienced bulimia and 0.3 percent had anorexia.
Published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, the study also reports that more than half of the affected teens suffer from a mental disorder, including depression and anxiety.
“Eating disorders are quite serious and often difficult to treat,” said ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. “Those suffering anorexia have a significant morbidity (hospitalization) and mortality rate. Even after long-term hospitalization and intravenous nutrition, they often relapse once released.”
“What makes it more complicated is that treating anorexic patients with antidepressants often doesn’t work, either,” adds ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom.