Anorexia Nervosa - Treatment Options

The consequences of anorexia nervosa, which is simply referred to as anorexia can be quite unsettling. Right from physical emergencies like irregular heartbeat, kidney failure and malnutrition to mental illnesses like depression and even suicidal tendencies. If untreated, anorexia can cost the lives of sufferers. This is why, health care providers are of the opinion that the treatment for this condition is something challenging.

Another reason why the treatment to this condition is challenging is that the patients strongly deny that they have such a problem. So, convincing them for the treatment alone is the biggest challenge. The reason is that the patients simply do not want to part with anorexia as it makes them feel like loss of support system.

Once the initial deadlock of making the patient accept for the treatment, the doctor will have to follow a multi-dimensional treatment approach. The reason is that this condition is openly behavioral, but secretly psychological and so treatment should involve a team of doctors like dietitians, counselors and psychologists. Of course, the best support of family members is also needed for the patient to survive this issue.

What does the recovery plan aims at?

• The first and foremost plan would be to restore the body to the normal weight from underweight.

• The next step involves bringing the patient to normal eating habits.

• The third approach involves addressing emotional issues like distorted thinking, low self-esteem, insecurity and depression.

• Finally, the team of doctors will work towards changing the way in which the patient thinks about herself/himself and about food items.

Treatment methods:

On the basis of the severity of the issue, anorexia treatment may involve a combination of the following therapies:


Depending of the effect of anorexia nervosa on the body, the patient might be recommended for hospitalization. This may be recommended only when the effects of this condition are disastrous like excessive weight loss, kidney problems, serious malnutrition, heart problems or severe depression.


Generally, medicines for this condition will have antidepressants to bring down the depression and anxiety faced by these patients. Also, medicines for controlling the distorted thinking towards body image and eating may be prescribed. Even, medicines for improving appetite and induce good sleep in patients might be prescribed.

Nutritional treatment:

Here, trained nutritionists and dietitians may be called by the health care provider for apprising the victim of nutrition, eating habits and the importance of balanced diet. Dietitian will chart out the suitable recovery meal plan for restoring the patient to normal eating habits to ensure that healthy weight can be maintained.


Counseling may be prescribed for identifying the negative thought process that trigger anorexia nervosa. The counselor will take steps to replace these negative thoughts with healthy and constructive thoughts. The patient will also be taught ways to deal with emotions and issues in a productive way as against self-destructive ways.

Apart from these treatment methods, individual therapy for the patient and family therapy for the family members to provide the right kind of support to the patient will also be part of the treatment for anorexia nervosa.

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