A recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry found a significant connection between eating disorders and suicide. The study, conducted over 25 years, looked at the medical records of over 38,000 people who had died by suicide and compared them to nearly 188,000 people who had not died by suicide. They found that individuals with anorexia nervosa were 18 times more likely to die by suicide, those with bulimia nervosa were five times more likely, and those with binge eating disorders were three times more likely to commit suicide. Therefore, this article looks at eating disorders as a risk factor for suicide.
Who Is At Risk?
According to a recent study on the eating disorder population, individuals with anorexia have the highest rate of completed suicide. In contrast, those with bulimia have the largest number of attempted suicides. Furthermore, half of those suffering from binge eating disorder have tried suicide. Individuals with anorexia prefer to organize their attempts, but those with bulimia tend to be more spontaneous.
There’s an increased chance of suicide attempts in anorexics who are underweight, older and struggling with substance abuse. At the same time, bulimics who have a psychiatric disorder and a history of sexual or physical abuse are prone to attempted suicide.
The following are reasons why people with eating disorders try or even commit suicide:
- They may feel unworthy and inferior.
- They may have a perverted view of reality.
- They could be underweight and unable to think clearly.
- They may struggle with irrational thoughts.
- They may believe that their pain is a burden to their loved ones.
- They may feel stuck by their ideas and daily regimented or chaotic routines as if there is no other way out.
Warning Signs of Suicide
Research shows that individuals who have dared to commit suicide two or more times are more likely to try again, while past attempts are most at risk six months to two years following their first attempt.
The following are warning signs of suicide:
- A change or emergence of new behaviors, especially after a painful event or loss, such as withdrawal and isolation from people.
- Increase the use of alcohol and drugs.
- Looking for ways to commit suicide.
- Weird behaviors include changing sleeping patterns and bidding people goodbye as they give out valuables.
- Being always tired.
- Talking about death and ways of doing it.
- Changes in moods such as anger, irritability, sudden joy, and anxiety.
- Loss of interest in almost everything.
Treatment options will differ depending on individual needs. For instance, their present medical and mental stability. A person may receive therapy through outpatient care or hospitalization. One of the best cures for eating disorders without suicidal thoughts is getting care and specialized treatment from a comprehensive recovery center, such as Ocean Recovery (https://www.oceanrecovery.com/). You will get different options to treat your disorder, like:
This treatment involves mental health professionals who will determine the best approach, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. This therapy assists you in understanding and changing distorted thinking patterns that manage emotions and behavior.
A registered dietitian with knowledge of eating disorders can assist you in improving your eating habits and developing a healthy meal plan. Additionally, you will get expert advice on meal planning, grocery shopping, and healthy food preparation.
Most people with eating disorders have other mental conditions such as anxiety or depression. Taking medication will improve your condition as you change your thoughts and improve your eating patterns.
Eating disorders are life-threatening problems that will affect your physical and mental health if untreated. Millions of people are struggling every day with an eating disorder. Seeking professional help and talking to your health provider about treatment options will solve your issue and ensure that you eat and enjoy life every day.