SOMERVILLE, N.J. (PIX11) – While millions suffer from eating disorders, too few get the help they need.

“Of all mental illnesses, this is the one that people die from the most,” said Deanna Sperling, vice president of Inpatient Behavioral Health Services at RWJBarnabas Health. “I think that that’s startling.”

We’re getting a look inside Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset’s inpatient Eating Disorder Unit. It’s one of only two in the State. The unit was recently renovated and redesigned with lighting that mimics daily changes in sunlight and areas that evoke calmness and healing.

“It is always associated with a mental health concern, generally anxiety and depression,” said Sperling. “So we treat that whole person.”

The hospital increased the number of inpatient beds in this unit from 14 to 20, underscoring the growing need to treat eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.

“It is a biological illness. It is a psychological illness,” said Christine Belluardo, the hospital’s vice president of Behavioral Health Services. “There’s a lot more to it.”

Officials said the illness had been made worse by isolation brought on by the pandemic, and while they see a lot of adolescents, the illness doesn’t discriminate.

“We are seeing more and more of the transgender population with eating disorders, as well as athletes, male and female,” said Belluardo.

Officials share some signs to look out for.

“Anorexia nervosa: you see a child -or if there’s an adult- they are isolating more, you’re noticing a drop in weight, things of nature,” said Belluardo. “Depression, anxiety, not wanting to leave the house services. With bulimia nervosa, you can see problems with their teeth, with their throat, they’re in the bathroom a lot, they’re closing the door after meals.”

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, more than 28 million Americans will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life.

The hospital urges anyone suffering to call their Mental Health Services Access Center at 1-800-300-0628 to begin the steps toward treatment.