We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Mental Diagnoses of Child Abuse Survivors-Part 2

This blog is a continuation of the discussion about mental disorders in “Mental Diagnoses of Child Abuse Survivors-Part 1.” It is important to understand the magnitude of the psychiatric illnesses survivors have to cope with on a daily basis to gain insight into the plight of America’s 50 million victims of abuse.

EATING DISORDERS: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge-Eating Disorder

  • Anorexia Nervosa
    • Approximately 2 million or 1 percent of young women between 10-20 years old
    • The mortality rate among people with Anorexia is about 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all causes of death among females ages 15-24
  • Bulimia Nervosa
    • Approximately 8 million or 4 percent of college-age women
  • Binge-Eating (BED)
    • Approximately 4 million or 2 percent
    • While binge-eating was not listed in the DSM-IV, it now appears in the new DSM-V1
    • BED is the most common eating disorder in the United States. In adults it affects 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men and up to 1.6 percent in adolescents. In women it is most common in early adulthood but more common in men at midlife.


  • Approximately 8 million or 4 percent ages 18-44
  • Median age of onset is 7


  • Approximately 1.5 million or 1.5 percent
  • Generally diagnosed by age 3


  • Approximately 4.5 million or 2.5 percent
  • Median age of onset is 65
  • 1 in 10 over 65 and nearly half of those over 85 are affected


  • Approximately 3.2 million or 1.5 percent
  • Affects men and women with equal frequency
  • Often first appears in men in their late teens or early 20s. In contrast, women are generally affected in their 20s or early 30s

It is interesting to note that the DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS are not mentioned at all by NIMH. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID – formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder) and other Dissociative Disorders are now understood to be fairly common effects of severe trauma in early childhood, most typically extreme, repeated physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. Current research shows that DID may affect about 2.5 million or 1 percent of the general population and as many as 5-20 percent of people in psychiatric hospitals.2

For more information about the DID diagnosis, read Letter to Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.

From reviewing the above statistics we find that while schizophrenia and autism are very severe, debilitating, biological illnesses which certainly require research and funding, these illnesses are rare and represent only 1.5 percent of the population.

Most people in the United States, however, experience the Mood and Anxiety Disorders (which include depression and bipolar disorder). Mood and anxiety disorders represent 9.5 and 18.1 percent of the population, respectively. And most survivors are diagnosed with these disorders which includes PTSD at 3.5 percent of the population.

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted in the United States before they reach the age of 18.3

In is incomprehensible that tens of millions of survivors suffer from these disorders and yet there is no public dialogue about it. It is time that the mental disorders of child abuse survivors also become front-page news with more research and discussion.



[2]What is Dissociative Disorder? Sidran 2007

[3]Botash, Ann, MD, “Examination for Sexual Abuse in Prepubertal Children: An Update” Pediatric Annual, May 1997

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Mental Diagnoses of Child Abuse Survivors-Part 1
NIMH and Mental Healthcare Funding


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