Anorexia treatment is a crucial part of the recovery process for patients suffering from this devastating eating disorder.
Types of Anorexia Treatment
Anorexia is not about vanity or excessive dieting, it's a serious psychological disorder that requires immediate medical treatment. Anorexia treatment can usually be broken into three main components:
- Nutritional support to stabilize the person's weight, or intravenous feeding if the problem is severe
- Individual and/or group therapy to address issues such as low self esteem, previous childhood abuse, poor body image, and other factors that may have contributed to the development of the eating disorder
- Follow-up care to assist with long-term remission and rehabilitation
Generally, an anorexic will need to begin treatment in an inpatient hospital setting. However, certain people may be helped by intensive outpatient treatment, day treatment, or transitional living treatment. If you have questions about your anorexia treatment options, discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider.
Treatment with Prescription Medications
If you're eager to get on with your life, you may be wondering if there are any prescription medications that can be used to treat an eating disorder. Recently, doctors have discovered that certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine can help recovering anorexics maintain a healthy body weight and reduce the anxiety that sometimes contributes to the disease. However, the use of prescriptions medications as part of an anorexia treatment program is only recommended after the patient's weight has stabilized.
The Role of Family in the Recovery Process
Many experts believe that incorporating family therapy into an anorexia treatment program can help prevent relapses by forcing the patient to address any interpersonal issues that are related to the development of his/her eating disorder. In addition, the therapist can help family members develop a better understanding of the patient's eating disorder and offer coping strategies that may be useful.
Family therapy generally includes the parents and siblings of younger anorexia patients and the spouses and children of older patients. However, some eating disorder treatment centers will allow close friends to participate in these sessions.
Once a patient's initial treatment has been completed, joining a support group can be a useful way to promote long-term recovery. Many hospitals and treatment centers sponsor their own support groups. In some parts of the country, you may also be able to find support groups run by non-profit organizations such as the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. Ask your healthcare provider for assistance in locating a group in your area.
If you don't live near a support group or simply don't feel comfortable sharing your problems face-to-face, you may wish to join an online anorexia treatment support group. However, these support groups are often much less structured than groups that are run by the administrators of an eating disorder treatment program or non-profit organization.
If you would like to learn more about anorexia treatment options, check out the following resources:
- Anorexia information from the National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Resources from the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorder
- Insurance Coverage and Eating Disorder Treatment