A first of its kind research to find the best treatment approach for anorexia nervosa is to be conducted by Australian scientists.
The statistics show that about one in five people, most often of the female gender, who develop an eating disorder will die, informed Associate Professor Susan Byrne from the School of Psychology at the University of WA.
Although various treatment options through counseling, therapy and also acute hospital care have been introduced over the years, Dr Byrne said there was yet real evidence stating which method was the best one.
She said, Currently there are a whole range of treatments and we don't have any evidence that one is any better than the other.
She hopes her research will shed a light to discovering the right treatment option that will treat the eating disorder effectively.
The research seeks about 200 adult volunteers with eating disorder who live in Adelaide, Sydney or Perth.
The study participants will be receiving a ten months free treatment in any one of the three different leading therapies designed independently which have been used to treat anorexia across the world.
The therapies that will be assessed and compared include the Enhanced Cognitive Behavior Therapy developed at the Oxford University, the Maudsley Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA) developed at the London's Maudsley Hospital and the New Zealand's Specialist Support Clinical Management for Anorexia Nervosa.
The aim of each treatment is to restore a normal eating habit and healthy weight, said Dr Byrne in order for the person with the eating disorder to become physically and mentally well.
Anorexia has the highest rate of mortality compared to other psychiatric conditions and nearly 15 to 20 per cent of sufferers die after 15 years.
Dr Byrne stated that it is not as rare a disease as most would think with fifteen per cent of Australian women is predicted to suffer from an eating disorder during their lifetime, of which four per cent would be classified as anorexia.