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Link Between Eating Disorders and Women’s Criminality?

Eating disorders can be detrimental to a person’s physical health, social relationships, and daily functioning.

Eating disorders can appear at any stage of life and are characterized by erratic eating patterns and intense concern about one’s body type or weight.

They may also involve insufficient or excessive food consumption.

These disorders are complex and destructive, affecting 10 million men and 20 million women at some point in their lives.

The prevalence of mood disorders, substance use disorders (SUD), and other illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder are also higher in those with eating disorders (OCD).

What is an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are significant, intricate mental health conditions that can have an impact on both one’s physical and emotional well-being.

Eating disorder sufferers come to have unhealthy connections with food, weight, or attractiveness. The three prevalent eating disorders, anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge eating disorder, are all potentially fatal.

It is a well-established fact that eating disorders can seriously harm a person’s health, but there may be a connection between them and criminal activity too.

The link between eating disorders and theft conviction

An eating disorder, such as AN or BN, increases a woman’s risk of being convicted of theft, especially small-time offenses like shoplifting, by four times, according to new Swedish research.

The researchers evaluated data from more than 900,000 Swedish women born between 1979 and 1998.

They studied these women for up to 20 years while taking into account their family history, co-occurring mental problems, eating disorder diagnoses, and criminal records for theft or other offences.

According to the study, 17.97% of participants with BN and 11.60% of participants with AN were convicted of theft, mostly of a small nature, as opposed to an estimated 5% of people who were not affected by eating disorders.

Additionally, 13.17% of individuals with BN and 7.39% of participants with AN had convictions for other offenses.

Combination incidences of other convictions were also greater among persons with AN and BN than unexposed participants.

Researchers concluded that those with BN were also twice as likely to be found guilty of other crimes, which may have been caused in part by comorbid conditions.

Although there is little research on criminal behavior in eating disorders, the study’s authors concluded that the increased risk of criminal behavior in women who have eating disorders should be considered seriously.

Convictions can make patients more stressed, disrupt their care, and hinder their ability to heal.

Lead author Shuyang Yao stated, “Our results emphasize forensic difficulties as a difficulty connected to eating disorders.

Criminal convictions can increase the burden of a condition and make treatment more difficult. During examinations for eating disorders, clinicians must be careful to routinely evaluate criminal histories.”

Treating Eating Disorders

The type of treatment and your requirements influence how eating disorders are treated.

A professional can assist you in addressing and managing food-related problems even if you have not been diagnosed with an eating disorder. The common treatment approaches include:


A mental health professional can decide which psychotherapy is most appropriate for your circumstances.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Helps a lot of people with eating issues. You can understand and alter the erroneous thought patterns that underlie your behaviors and emotions with the aid of this type of treatment.


Some sufferers of these disorders also struggle with depression or anxiety.

Antidepressants and other drugs can help these symptoms become better.

Nutritional Guidance:

A trained dietitian with experience in eating disorders can assist in developing wholesome meal plans and helping to modify eating patterns.

Additionally, this expert may provide advice on meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal preparation.

A good treatment plan involves taking different approaches together in combination to fight the illness and address its different aspects.

At Athena Behavioural Health, we use a multidisciplinary and holistic approach to develop individual treatment plans for our patients.

If you or your loved ones are suffering from an eating disorder, it is crucial to seek professional help immediately.

For more information about our treatment plans and facility, contact us at 919289086193 or write to us at