Hospital admissions for eating disorders soar 84% in just five years

Hospital admissions for eating disorders soar 84 per cent in just five years

  • There were 11,049 more admissions for eating disorders this year than in 2016
  • A stark rise was seen in boys and young men, from 280 admissions to 637
  • Admissions in children and young people rose from 3,541 to 6,713 
  • Hospital admissions for people with eating disorders have risen 84 per cent in the last five years, with boys and young men increasingly affected.

    There were 11,049 more admissions for illnesses such as bulimia and anorexia in 2020/21 than in 2015/16, reaching 24,268 admissions across England.

    Admissions in children and young people rose from 3,541 to 6,713, with a 35 per cent increase in the last year alone as the Covid pandemic hit, according to the analysis by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

    A stark rise was seen in boys and young men, from 280 admissions in 2015/16 to 637 in 2020/2021.

    There were 11,049 more admissions for illnesses such as bulimia and anorexia in 2020/21 than in 2015/16, reaching 24,268 admissions across England

    There were 11,049 more admissions for illnesses such as bulimia and anorexia in 2020/21 than in 2015/16, reaching 24,268 admissions across England

    The college has launched new guidelines to help health professionals identify people whose eating disorders have become life-threatening and get them the right care.

    Even when seriously unwell, people with eating disorders can appear healthy, with normal blood tests.

    Dr Dasha Nicholls, who led the development of the guidelines, said: ‘Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating don’t discriminate, and can affect people of any age and gender.

    ‘They are mental health disorders… and we shouldn’t underestimate how serious they are.

    ‘Full recovery is possible if spotted and treated early.’

    One in five deaths of people with anorexia is due to suicide, while all eating disorders see high rates of self-harm and depression.

    Tom Quinn, of the eating disorder charity Beat, welcomed the new guidance, adding: ‘We sadly know from the results of past inquests that insufficient training and failure to follow the previous guidance led to preventable deaths.’