Since anorexia involves both mind and body, a team approach to treatment is often best. Those who may be involved in anorexia treatment include medical doctors, psychologists, counselors, and dietitians. The participation and support of family members also makes a big difference in treatment success. Having a team around you that you can trust and rely on will make recovery easier.
Treating anorexia involves three steps:
- Getting back to a healthy weight
- Starting to eat more food
- Changing how you think about yourself and food
The types of treatments that may be used for anorexia nervosa are:
The first priority in anorexia treatment is addressing and stabilizing any serious health issues. Hospitalization may be necessary if you are dangerously malnourished or so distressed that you no longer want to live. You may also need to be hospitalized until you reach a less critical weight. Outpatient treatment is an option when you’re not in immediate medical danger. A second component of anorexia treatment is nutritional counseling. A nutritionist or dietitian will teach you about healthy eating and proper nutrition. The nutritionist will also help you develop and follow meal plans that include enough calories to reach or maintain a normal, healthy weight.
- Individual psychotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for anorexia nervosa, especially for people who are beyond adolescence and who are not living at home. Individual therapy provides a safe place to learn how to identify concerns, solve problems, overcome fears, and test new skills.
- Family therapy is almost always used as part of treatment when the person with anorexia nervosa is young or living at home. Family therapy can be useful to provide information about anorexia nervosa, assess the impact of the disorder on the family, help members overcome guilt, improve communication and decision-making skills, develop strategies for coping, and develop practical strategies for overcoming the disorder.
- Marital therapy is almost always valuable when the person with anorexia nervosa is married. The primary goal of marital therapy is to strengthen the relationship. It can provide practical suggestions on how to deal with the disorder. It may also help identify and resolve communication problems.
- Group therapy can play an important role as part of hospital treatment, partial hospitalization or intensive day treatment. There are many different types of groups, each with different goals and orientations. Some groups are “task-oriented” and may focus on food, eating, body image, interpersonal skills, and vocational training. Other groups are aimed at understanding the psychological factors that may have led to the development and maintenance of the disorder.
Useful link about anorexia nervosa: