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How do I Choose the Best Anorexia Nervosa Treatment?

By Meshell Powell
Updated May 17, 2024
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Anorexia nervosa is a serious eating disorder that requires intensive treatment. There are several types of anorexia nervosa treatment options available, and those who achieve the most success take advantage of each of these treatment options. Psychological therapy is an important part of anorexia nervosa treatment, as it helps the patient deal with the mental and emotional issues that may be responsible for the disorder. Medical intervention may be needed to treat conditions such as heart problems or osteoporosis caused by anorexia. Nutritional therapy is often helpful in teaching the patient how to plan and prepare meals that are healthy and may help the body to function properly.

Psychological therapy is an essential step in anorexia nervosa treatment. This type of treatment is geared toward assisting the patient in recognizing and changing harmful thoughts and behaviors that lead to this eating disorder. Learning to have a healthy view of food and dealing with self-esteem issues are integral parts of anorexia nervosa treatment. Family therapy is often recommended in addition to individual therapy so that loved ones can learn how to properly support the patient during treatment.

Anorexia nervosa treatment frequently involves medical intervention. Once the body goes into starvation mode, damage can occur throughout the body. Anorexia may cause the heart to stop functioning properly and may lead to bone problems such as osteoporosis. When the brain is affected by malnutrition, depression often occurs. While psychological counseling can help with feelings of depression, medications may need to be used as well, at least until other treatment options have had the chance to become effective.

Nutritional therapy can be a helpful anorexia nervosa treatment option. A registered dietitian can often help the patient devise a healthy eating plan that may help to heal some of the damage done to the body from spending prolonged periods of time in starvation mode. As the overall health of the patient begins to improve, dietary needs may change, and a dietitian can help make changes in the eating plan as necessary.

In some cases, anorexia nervosa treatment consists of spending some time in the hospital. Health crises are common as new symptoms of organ damage become evident. The patient may need to have a feeding tube or be given IV fluids in order to become medically stable. If the behavior of the patient becomes erratic or suicidal thoughts develop, hospitalization may involve intensive psychological therapy in addition to medical and nutritional therapies.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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