When treating anorexia, the best treatment will vary from person to person; there is no single method that works in all cases. Common treatment methods include restoring the person to a healthy weight (this may require hospitalization), psychotherapy, and, in some cases, medications. Early treatment is important in helping someone overcome the condition.
Presently, there is no universally accepted, standard treatment for anorexia. Because of its complexity, anorexia requires a comprehensive treatment plan, involving:
- Medical care and monitoring
- Psychosocial interventions
- Nutritional counseling
- Medication (when appropriate).
Ideally, this integrated approach to anorexia treatment would include the skills of nutritionists, mental health professionals, endocrinologists, and other physicians.
Families and friends offering support and encouragement can also play an important role in the success of an anorexia treatment program.
Treatment is most successful when the condition is diagnosed early. The longer abnormal eating behaviors persist, the more difficult it is to overcome anorexia and its effects on the body.
Anorexia treatment calls for a specific program that involves three main phases:
- Restoring weight lost to severe dieting and purging
- Treating psychological disturbances, such as poor body image, low self-esteem, and interpersonal conflicts
- Achieving long-term remission and rehabilitation or full recovery.
The first goal for the treatment of anorexia is to ensure the person's physical health, which involves restoring a healthy weight. Reaching this goal may require hospitalization. As part of this early treatment, feeding plans address the person's medical and nutritional needs. In some cases, intravenous feeding is recommended.