What are the mortality rates of anorexia nervosa?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
  • Print

Mortality rates were significantly higher in a well-done 25-year longitudinal study with a standarized mortality ratio (SMR) elevated at 34.5 for females and 16.0 for males with comorbid cluster B personality disorder. [69]

A recent study found that mortality was higher if psychiatric comorbifities such as substance abuse were present. This may be due to the co-occuring shame and isolation that substance abuse disorders engender. [70, 71]

A meta-analysis by Arcelus et al found a weighted annual mortality incidence for anorexia nervosa of 5.1 deaths per 1000 person-years; a lower mortality rate—1.74 deaths per 1000 person-years—was noted in individuals with bulimia nervosa. [72] However, it is possible that because this study was a meta-analysis, individuals with crossover between anorexia and bulimia could not be correctly tracked, causing loss of data in this study. [72]

Patients who misused alcohol, had a low BMI at presentation, or were of older age at first presentation were found to have a higher likelihood of poor outcomes, including death. Comorbid disorders, such as affective disorder or suicidal behavior or self-harm, or a history of mental-health hospitalization for these problems, also strongly predicted patient mortality. [72]

A 25-year study of patients diagnosed with co-morbid substance abuse [70] and with cluster B personality disorders [69] appeared to have much higher rates of mortality with a standardized mortality raio of 34.5 for females and 16.0 for males.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!