Weight Gain Often Doesn't Mean Anorexia Cure
Even After Weight Gain, Addressing Underlying Issues Is Critical
Follow-Up a Must continued...
"Restoring someone's weight is certainly a necessary aspect of treatment because a starving brain isn't going to respond well to therapy," she says. "But addressing the underlying emotional issues that led to the disorder and the behavioral issues that make it so hard to get better is also critical. That really can't be done in a month or two of treatment."
Kronberg says these days insurance or other medical coverage rarely pays for hospital stays of much longer than this and that critical follow-up care may not be available. She is director and co-founder of Eating Disorder Associates Treatment and Referral Centers in Westbury, N.Y.
The stakes are high, Kronberg says, because the death rate from anorexia nervosa is greater than for any other mental illness.
"There is a big difference between a hospital program where someone is making the food choices for you and the real world," she says. "In the hospital setting patients can either comply or not comply. Those are their only two choices. But in the real world they face constant choices about food. And with anorexia, thought processes become so ingrained that what you learn over a few months of treatment may not stack up well to what your brain has been telling you for years."