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Treatment for anorexia nervosa

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Treatment for anorexia nervosa

Early treatment is vital. As anorexia nervosa becomes more entrenched, its damage becomes less reversible.

Usually, the family is asked to help in the treatment, which may include:

  • psychotherapy
  • nutrition counseling
  • behavior modification
  • self-help groups

Therapy often lasts a year or more--on an outpatient basis unless life-threatening physical symptoms or severe psychological problems require hospitalization. If there is deterioration or no response to therapy, the patient (or parent or other advocate) may want to talk to the health professional about the plan of treatment.

There are no drugs approved specifically for anorexia, but several, including some antidepressants, are being investigated for this use.

If you think a friend or family member has anorexia, point out in a caring, nonjudgmental way the behavior you have observed and encourage the person to get medical help. If you think you have anorexia, remember that you are not alone and that this is a health problem that requires professional help. As a first step, talk to your parents, family doctor, religious counselor, or school counselor or nurse.


Adapted from Food and Drug Administration, 3/00

Last reviewed March 2000 by ]]>EBSCO Publishing Editorial Staff]]>

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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