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Eating Disorders Myths Busted - Myth #6: Eating Disorders are Benign

Myth # 6: Eating Disorders are Benign

In this sixth in a series of videos debunking nine myths about eating disorders, Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina, discusses the heightened risk of suicide associated with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.  The video was excerpted from a talk, "Eating Disorders Essentials: Replacing Myths with Realities," presented at the NIMH Alliance for Research Progress Winter Meeting, February 7, 2014 in Rockville, MD.

Watch on YouTube.


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So another myth that we need to bust right away is that eating disorders are somehow trivial or benign. They're not. And this is a slide from a paper that we just published, looking at suicide attempts in Sweden across a variety of eating disorders phenotypes. So, on the far right, this is the population who have no eating disorders. So the suicide attempt rate is under 2 percent. But if you look across the board -- anorexia nervosa restricting subtype, anorexia binge-purge subtype, people who had both anorexia and bulimia at some point in their life – (you see) really elevated rates.  And these are all significant. Bulimia. binge eating disorder and purging disorder. So across the board, we're seeing high suicide risk in individuals with all presentations of eating disorders.

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