How Is Anorexia Nervosa Treated?

Anorexia nervosa is a health condition in which a person has a negative body image and is usually severely underweight. Those who suffer from anorexia nervosa often eat very little due to their extreme fear of gaining weight. To avoid gaining weight, those who have anorexia may also force themselves to vomit after eating or take laxatives after eating as well. While this is a physical illness, it is often triggered by emotional issues, low self-esteem, or even mental conditions, such as anxiety or depression. These are some ways that anorexia nervosa is treated.


It is not uncommon for anorexia nervosa patients to need to be hospitalized as the first step of getting treated. Various tests need to be done to determine if any other health conditions have developed due to the eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa can cause damage to the heart and esophagus, low blood pressure, abdominal pain and digestion problems, and abnormal blood counts as well as many other health issues that all need to be checked by a medical professional. Therefore, a stay in the hospital may be necessary to determine the severity of the patient's condition.

Nutritional Treatment

One of the most important steps of the treatment is for the patient to begin eating properly again. This is not just as simple as preparing a healthy meal for the patient and serving it to them. The patient is taught the importance of nutrition and which foods will improve their condition and help them get better. The goal is for the patient to want to eat right so they can gain enough weight and maintain it to be healthy.


The patient also attends counseling to help recover from anorexia nervosa. This often involves individual sessions with a therapist who specializes in eating disorders. There may also be group therapy meetings with others who suffer from anorexia nervosa as well as family therapy that involves the patient, their family members, and a therapist. This type of counseling helps the patient discover what may have caused their anorexia to begin and learn how to prevent it from reoccurring. 

Medications are often used as part of an anorexia nervosa treatment plan. If the patient is diagnosed with a mental condition, they may be prescribed antidepressants or other medications to treat these issues. Certain medications may help increase a patient's appetite and these are also sometimes prescribed as part of the treatment plan as well.

For more information on anorexia treatment, reach out to a local medical health professional.