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Anorexia Nervosa Health Center

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Anorexia Nervosa - Treatment Overview

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When you need emergency care continued...

If 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:

  • Treating starvation. 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.

Insurance coverage varies for inpatient treatment of eating disorders. Check with your insurance carrier to learn about your coverage.

What to think about

Anorexia can be a lifelong illness. Many people who have anorexia recover, some improve, and some have problems with anorexia throughout their lives.

  • People with anorexia who are young and who start treatment early in their illness usually do well.
  • Anorexia is more difficult to treat when it has gone untreated for a long time.

Many people don't get treatment for mental health problems. You may not seek treatment because you think your symptoms are not bad enough or that you can work things out on your own. But getting treatment is important.

If you need help deciding whether to see your doctor, read about some reasons why people don't get help and how to overcome them.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 25, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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