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Anorexia Nervosa (cont.)

Prognosis of Anorexia Nervosa

  • Death from the medical complications of anorexia or from suicide can be as high as 18%. Having the disease for a long time increases the risk of death or severe complications.
  • About half of those affected will make a full recovery.
  • Some people will develop chronic relapses.
  • Coexisting psychiatric conditions may complicate the prognosis.

Previous contributing authors and editors:

Author: Bradley J Kaufman, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Emergency Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Coauthor(s): Andrew Wollowitz, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; Anthony Anker, MD, FAAEM, Attending Physician, Emergency Department, Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.

Medically reviewed by Ashraf Ali, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology with subspecialty in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry


American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

American Psychiatric Association. "DSM-5 proposed revisions will include binge eating disorder and revisions to other eating disorders criteria." News Release Embargoed For Release Until 2/10/10, Arlington, Virginia.

Attia, E., and B.T. Walsh. "Behavioral management for anorexia nervosa." New England Journal of Medicine 360 (2009): 500-506.

Bissada, H., G.A. Tasca, A.M. Barber, and J. Bradwein. "Olanzapine in the treatment of low body weight and obsessive thinking in women with anorexia nervosa: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial." American Journal of Psychiatry 165 (2008): 1281-1288.

Committee on Adolescence. "Policy statement: Identifying and treating eating disorders." Pediatrics 111.1 Jan. 2003: 204-211.

Karlsson, M.K., S.J. Weigall, Y. Duan, and E. Seeman. "Bone size and volumetric density in women with anorexia nervosa receiving estrogen replacement therapy and in women recovered from anorexia nervosa." Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 85.9 Sept. 2000: 3177-3182.

Nicholls, D.E., and R.M. Viner. "Childhood risk factors for lifetime anorexia nervosa by age 30 years in a national birth cohort." Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 48.8 Aug. 2009: 791-799.

Raevuori, A., H.W. Hoek, E. Susser, J. Kaprio, A. Rissanen, et al. "Epidemiology of Anorexia Nervosa in Men: A Nationwide Study of Finnish Twins." PLoS One 4.2 (2009).

Walsh, B.T., A.S. Kaplan, E. Attia, M. Olmsted, M. Parides, et al. "Fluoxetine after weight restoration in anorexia nervosa." Journal of the American Medical Association 295.22 (2006): 2605-2612.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/30/2015

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Anorexia Nervosa »

Richard Morton first described anorexia nervosa more than 300 years ago, in 1689, as a condition of "a Nervous Consumption" caused by "sadness, and anxious Cares."

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