Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa



Getting treatment for anorexia nervosa is imperative because without treatment, about 20 percent of people with the condition die from it. There are a number of anorexia treatments that have been found effective when used in combination. Choosing only one form of treatment is less effective than choosing a comprehensive treatment plan.



Available Anorexia Treatments

Medical treatment – Comprehensive medical treatment is a crucial part of the treatment for anorexia nervosa because people with anorexia frequently suffer from a number of medical complications of the disorder. They may have heart trouble, problems with their blood pressure, kidney damage, osteoporosis, nutritional deficiencies and a host of other health problems. In severe cases, people may require intravenous fluids to treat dehydration or even tube feedings to provide some nutrition. Medical treatment alone will not lead to recovery from anorexia, however. The psychological issues related to the disorder must be addressed.

Psychotherapy – Treatment for anorexia nervosa must also include psychotherapy. Treatment centers often employ both individual and group therapy. In individual therapy, people with anorexia can address personal issues that lead to their disorders, including issues related to past traumas. In group therapy, they can receive support from others with similar experiences and they also have the opportunity to offer support to others in need.

Family therapy – Family therapy is one of the recommended anorexia treatments. When someone suffers from anorexia, it really affects the entire family. Relationships suffer, family members may not understand the disorder well and often communication problems result. Family therapy provides an opportunity for family members to learn about the disorder and receive support. It also provides an opportunity for all members of the family to communicate openly and honestly with one another. Family counseling can include close friends as well as family members, if desired.

Nutritional counseling – People with anorexia are often malnourished and may have a poor understanding of what constitutes good nutrition. Nutritional counseling is an important component of the treatment for anorexia nervosa. People with the disorder receive education about good nutrition and a registered dietician helps them with menu planning, designing a realistic meal plan that incorporates their preferences and dislikes.

Supervised meals – Eating disorder treatment centers generally provide supervision at meal times. Registered dieticians or other trained staff members assist patients in selecting foods at meal times, focusing on good nutrition and adequate caloric intake. Discussions about food, weight and calories are discouraged during meal times. Bathrooms are frequently locked for a short period immediately after meal times to discourage purging.

Getting Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa

If you have symptoms of anorexia, you need to seek out anorexia treatments right away. Without treatment, the disorder can be deadly. Your best option is probably to seek treatment from an eating disorder treatment center, a facility that specializes in the treatment of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia. Eating disorder treatment centers usually offer a variety of anorexia treatments like medical care, psychotherapy, family therapy and nutritional counseling. Psychiatric hospitals and psychiatric units of general hospitals will usually treat people with anorexia but they may not have the expertise needed and may not offer all of the desired components of treatment.

You can find an eating disorder treatment center by calling your health insurance company, if you have insurance, and asking what facilities are covered by your plan. You can also ask your physician or a mental health care professional for a referral. Take some time to check out any treatment center you are considering, though, to make sure the treatment plan contains all the recommended components of treatment.






More than treatment for anorexia nervosa on our eating disorder statistics page

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