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Eating Disorder Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa

What are the goals for eating disorder treatments for anorexia nervosa?

eating disorderEating disorder treatments for anorexia nervosa usually have two main goals. The first is to correct as quickly as possible the abnormal eating pattern that is endangering the personís health. The second goal of eating disorder treatments, is to address the broader psychological and situational factors that have led to and maintain the eating problem. Family and friends can play an extremely important role in helping to overcome the disorder.

Eating disorder treatments for anorexia nervosa:   

The immediate aim for eating disorder treatments for anorexia nervosa, are to help individuals regain their lost weight, recover from malnourishment, and eat normally again. Therapists must then help them to make psychological and perhaps family changes to preserve those gains.

How are proper weight and normal eating restored?

A variety of eating disorder treatment interventions are used to help patients with anorexia nervosa gain weight quickly and return to health, usually within several weeks. In the past, eating disorder treatments were almost always provided in a hospital, but now they are often offered in outpatient settings.


In life-threatening cases, clinicians may need to force tube and intravenous feedings on a patient who refuses to eat. Unfortunately, this use of force may breed distrust in the patient and set up a power struggle between a patient and their therapist. In contrast, behavioral weight-restoration approaches and clinicians rewarding patients whenever they eat properly or gain weight, and offering no rewards when they eat improperly or fail to gain weight, is the recommended approach to eating disorder treatments.

Perhaps the most popular weight-restoration technique of recent years has been a combination of supportive nursing care and a high-calorie diet. In this approach to eating disorder treatment, nurses gradually increase the patientís diet over the course of several weeks to more than 2,500 calories per day. The nurses educate patients about the program, track progress, provide encouragement, and help them to recognize that their weight gain is under control, and will not be permitted to continue into obesity. Studies show that patients in nursing-care, eating disorder treatment programs, usually gain the necessary weight over a period of eight to 12 weeks.

By Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D. Candidate (Health Psychology)

Information provided by Abnormal Psychology by Ronald J. Comer  

Web Psychtreatment.Com

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