The Morality in Helping Others with the Anorexia Nervosa, a Psychological Disorder

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Millions of people worldwide struggle with anorexia nervosa. Yet this disorder has the highest mortality rate than any others. Anorexia has a higher mortality rate than schizophrenia, and nearly 50% of schizophrenics attempt suicide. Every 62 minutes a person dies from a serious eating disorder and one out of five anorexic deaths are from suicide (Facts About Eating Disorders: What The Research Shows, n.d.). Of those struggling in the United States, only one third of anorexics will obtain treatment ("Statistics on Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating", n.d.). What makes anorexia so deadly and how can death be prevented? Increased risk of suicide

Surprisingly, most people would not expect an eating disorder to have the highest mortality rate out of any mental illness. One of the key factors that make anorexia so deadly is the increased rick for suicide. "According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, suicide is the cause of death for as many as half of anorexia sufferers, surpassing the number of deaths from starvation" ("The Link Between Anorexia and Suicide", n.d.). People with anorexia usually do not commit suicide because they want the attention but because they just want to die. They often use the most lethal ways of suicide as well. In a study of nine anorexics who had committed suicide, it "found that the patients isolated themselves before taking their own lives, apparently to reduce the chances of receiving life-saving help. The suicide methods used by the test cases included jumping in front of a moving train, ingesting poison, drug overdose, carbon monoxide poisoning and hanging" ("The Link Between Anorexia and Suicide", n.d.). It is extremely important to understand anorexia and the warning signs associated with suicide for death to be prevented.

Cardiovascular Complications

Another one of the main factors leading to anorexia related death are heart problems. These can range from heart disease, cardiac arrest, and other complications that can occur from anorexia nervosa. Heart disease is the most common of these problems. Reduced blood flow, heart muscle starving and shrinks in size, the blood pressure may drop and bradycardia may develop, which is when your heart reaches dangerously slow rhythms. ("Anorexia Nervosa Complications of Anorexia", 2013). As the anorexia gets more severe, your heart begins to fail which can cause cardiac arrest. Another way anorexia can affect the heart is by imbalances of important minerals, "Certain electrolytes (especially calcium and potassium) are critical for maintaining the electric currents necessary for a normal heartbeat. An imbalance in these electrolytes can be very serious and even life threatening unless fluids and minerals are replaced ("Anorexia Nervosa Complications of Anorexia", 2013)." All of these cardiovascular problems can be treated before it is too late, early detection of anorexia and treatment is vital for preventing death.

Multi Organ Failure

Multi organ failure can also be a cause of death in anorexics. "In very late stages of anorexia, the organs simply fail. The main warning sign is high blood levels of liver enzymes, which require immediate administration of calories. ("Anorexia Nervosa Complications of Anorexia", 2013)." At this stage it would be crucial to receive treatment, although, it would have been better if it never reached this stage of anorexia in the first place. Early detection and action of anorexia can prevent it becoming that severe. "The first priority in anorexia treatment is addressing and stabilizing any serious health issues. Hospitalization may be necessary if you are dangerously malnourished [...]. You may also need to be hospitalized until you reach a less critical weight" ("Anorexia Nervosa: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment", n.d.).

Warning Signs and Early Detection

In order to prevent long-term consequences and or death, early detection and intervention is very essential. Some warning signs may include

  • refusal to eat
  • Denial of hunger, even when starving
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Obsession with body size and shape
  • Skipping meals
  • Making excuses for not eating
  • Eating only a few certain foods considered safe, usually those low in fat and calories
  • Adopting meal or eating rituals, such as cutting food into tiny pieces or spitting food out
  • after chewing
  • Weighing food

Cooking elaborate meals for others but refusing to eat ("Anorexia - Symptoms, Warning Signs and Side Effects of Anorexia Nervosa", n.d.) Upon recognizing these symptoms, family members should seek out the advice of a health professional. Once an examination has been completed, the health care professional can begin the necessary treatment.


Overall, anorexia nervosa is an extremely dangerous disorder that can result in death, but it can be prevented. Although millions of people do struggle with this deadly disorder, treatment is an option. Hopefully, in the future there will be less stories about people dying from anorexia but instead more stories about recovering.

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The Morality in Helping Others With the Anorexia Nervosa, a Psychological Disorder. (2022, Dec 14). Retrieved July 22, 2024 , from

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