All people with
anorexia need treatment. In most cases, this
involves seeing a doctor and having regular counseling
sessions. A hospital stay is needed for those who are seriously underweight or
who have severe medical problems. The goals of treatment are to restore a
healthy weight and healthy eating habits.
If you have an eating disorder, try not to resist treatment. Although
you may be very afraid of gaining weight, try to think of weight gain
as a life-saving measure. With help, you can learn to eat well and keep your
weight at a healthy level.
Ideally, you can take charge of
anorexia with the help of a team that includes a
mental health professional (such as a psychologist or licensed counselor), a
medical health professional (such as a doctor or nurse), and a
If your medical
condition is not life-threatening, your treatment likely will
Medical treatment. If
malnutrition or starvation has started to break down your body, medical
treatment will be a top priority. Your doctor will treat the
medical conditions that have been caused by anorexia, such as
osteoporosis, heart problems, or
depression. As you begin to get better, your doctor will continue to follow your health and weight.
Nutritional counseling. A registered dietitian will help you take charge of your
weight in a healthy way. You will learn healthy eating patterns and gain a good
understanding of nutrition.
An important part of your recovery will include:
For the teen with anorexia,
family involvement is a key part of treatment. Family therapy helps parents support their child, both emotionally and physically. It also supports parents in creating a normal eating pattern for their child. Any brothers or
sisters also need support during treatment. Family, group, and individual
counseling are all effective and are often combined.
If you need more help
Ongoing (chronic) forms of
anorexia may require treatment for many years,
including hospitalizations when needed. Ongoing treatment usually
includes psychological counseling. A counselor will help you make your own plan to use new
coping and stress management skills and prevent
relapse. Your counselor can help you at those times
when it is hard to follow healthy ways of thinking about food and your body.
Some people fully recover from anorexia. Many people with
anorexia have ups and downs over the years. Try thinking of treatment as an
When you need emergency care
severely underweight can cause
dehydration, starvation, and
electrolyte imbalance, any of which can be
anorexia causes life-threatening medical problems, you
need urgent medical treatment. A hospital stay is needed for those who are seriously underweight or
who have severe medical problems. This can include several weeks in the hospital followed by outpatient treatment to monitor your progress. Treatment includes:
This can include treating medical problems it has caused, such as dehydration,
electrolyte imbalance, or heart problems. If you can't
eat, you are given your nutrition in fluid form.
Nutritional rehabilitation. The medical team helps you work
toward a healthier weight carefully and gradually, learn when your body is
hungry and full, and start healthy eating patterns.