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Anorexia Sufferers at Greater Risk for Suicide, Warns Eating Disorder Specialist Dr. Gregory Jantz

Edmonds, WA (Apr 2, 2012) – If left untreated, anorexia nervosa can kill – in fact, anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychological disorder. But it’s not just the direct medical effects of extremely low body weight that too often lead to early deaths among anorexics. Anorexia sufferers are far more likely than most people to attempt suicide, and some of them inevitably succeed in taking their own lives, according to Dr. Gregory Jantz, an internationally recognized eating disorder specialist.

Suicide may account for as many deaths among anorexia sufferers as self-starvation does, according to A.D.A.M. Inc., an Atlanta-based healthcare information and education company. Some studies have found the suicide rate among anorexic women to be more than 50 percent higher than the suicide rate in the general population. A.D.A.M. cites estimates that as many as 20 percent of anorexics attempt suicide at some point.

“Anorexia and other eating disorders are complex problems that go far beyond the medical issues involved,” says Dr. Jantz, a respected eating disorder therapist and author of the bestselling book Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders. “Focusing solely on bringing an anorexia patient up to a healthier body weight doesn’t address psychological, emotional, social and spiritual challenges that are always intertwined with the more obvious biological concerns.”

According to Dr. Jantz, people with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating often engage in other self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse and addictions or forms of self-mutilation such as cutting. The ultimate self-destructive act, of course, is suicide.

Dr. Jantz, who is director of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, a residential treatment facility in Edmonds, WA, says that eating disorders must be addressed through a “whole-person” approach. The whole-person treatment philosophy puts all the concerns and challenges in a person’s life on par with the medical and nutritional facets of the eating disorder she or he is struggling with.

Dr. Jantz founded The Center • A Place of HOPE in 1984 as a place to treat people with eating disorders using the whole-person approach that he advocates. Dr. Jantz and the staff at The Center also help clients from all walks of life to deal with a wide range of other psychological and emotional issues.