What are the treatment options for anorexia nervosa?

Treatment for anorexia nervosa can be difficult and usually involves a medical team of many different specialists. Treatment for this disorder is individualized and based on the needs of each patient. The course of treatment can also be dependent upon one’s health status and physical symptoms. 
Some goals of treatment for anorexia nervosa include returning the patient to a healthy body weight, treating and or reversing (if possible) any complications, treating any emotional issues, fixing distorted thinking, and creating a positive long term change in behavior.  
Treatment for anorexia nervosa may include:
  • Hospitalization may be indicated when one’s health condition is so poor that they need to be treated immediately. In cases of immense weight loss, severe malnutrition, and/or complete refusal to eat some people may need a feeding tube placed in order to receive total parenteral nutrition (TPN). Psychiatric hospitalization may be indicated in the event of a mental health crisis such as attempted suicide. There are also some clinics that specialize in treating eating disorders. These clinics can be inpatient, residential clinics where one would stay and receive treatment
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that has shown to be helpful in treating anorexia nervosa. This therapy focuses on changing one’s behavior and thinking in order to create a healthier mentality toward eating and one’s appearance. The main goal of this therapy is to normalize/support weight gain and healthy eating patterns. 
  • Medication: Anti-depressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed to help with depression and anxiety. Other types of psychiatric medications and anti-depressants may also be prescribed.
  • Family therapy can be very helpful in teaching the family to understand anorexia and its symptoms/complications. The family plays a very important role in recovery for this disorder. 
  • Group therapy allows people with this disorder to talk with other people going through similar experiences. They can share their thoughts, feelings, struggles, and triumphs. 
  • Nutrition counseling helps to teach normal eating habits and a healthy outlook on weight. It also teaches the importance of good nutrition and a healthy, balanced diet. 
anorexia nervosa treatment

  • "Anorexia nervosa" Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 28 Jan. 2016. Web. 14 Aug. 2017.
  • "Anorexia Nervosa." | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library, n.d. Web. 14 Aug. 2017.
  • “Anorexia Nervosa.” Cleveland Clinic, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 14 Aug. 2017.

From Our Blog: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy vs. Dialectical Behavior Therapy
CBT and DBT are two forms of psychotherapy (“talk therapy”). In both, you work with a mental health professional to learn more about the challenges you experience and learn skills to help you manage those challenges on your own. As with many forms of psychotherapy, it takes time and effort to enjoy the benefits of DBT and CBT skills. But once people master skills with support from their CBT or DBT therapist, they often find their new skills and strategies become second nature- they are tools that last a lifetime!  Check out this infographic for an overview of the differences between CBT and DBT:
cognitive behavioral therapy vs. dialectical behavior therapy


Join the community!

You must be a member of healtheo360 in order to view this group

Register with Email Address

Already a member? Click here to login

healtheo360 believes strongly in user privacy.