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Anorexia Nervosa Health Center

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Behavioral Family Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa

Family therapy helps parents support their child, both emotionally and physically.

This therapy may be effective in treating children and young teens who have anorexia nervosa and who still live at home.1 All family members who interact with the young person are expected to attend the counseling sessions.

In the first phase of this type of family therapy, parents are helped to temporarily take control over their child's eating. The parents can create a normal eating pattern for their child. This helps the child gain weight. After a reasonable amount of weight has been gained, control over eating is gradually given back to the child. Also, general family issues are dealt with during these counseling sessions.


  1. Sigel EJ (2011). Eating disorders. In WW Hay et al., eds., Current Diagnosis and Treatment: Pediatrics, 20th ed., pp. 159-170. New York: McGraw-Hill.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Stewart Agras, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised August 25, 2011

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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