Anorexia Treatment

Anorexia nervosa is a disorder where the main characteristic is the restriction of food and the refusal to maintain a minimal normal body weight. Any actual gain or even perceived gain of weight is met with intense fear by the person suffering from anorexia. People suffering from anorexia have problems maintaining their weight, and are afraid to gain any weight. They may also hold distorted or imbalanced views about their bodies.

Mealtime and daily life often creates stress, and a lot of emotional problems may co-occur, or even pre-date an eating disorder. Even though dieting may seem to bring short term relief, continual dieting and food restriction can lead to serious, and even life-threatening problems.

How can you tell if someone is at risk for developing anorexia? Possible early indicators include:

  • Regular dieting
  • Refusal to eat at certain times
  • Habitual monitoring of weight
  • Skipping family meals
  • Avoiding food-related gatherings
  • Eliminating entire categories of food
  • Researching restrictive diets
  • Regular fasting
  • Hyper-focus the eating habits of others
  • Counting calories
  • Eating in isolation or in secret

In addition to food-related mood and emotional disturbances, anorexia can cause a number of physical problems like:

  • Poor hair and nail quality
  • Bowel problems including constipation
  • Heart murmurs, weak pulse, and atypical rhythms
  • Irregular menstrual cycle
  • Kidney infections, stones, or kidney failure
  • Poor bone density
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Poor respiration
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Low body temperature
  • Fitful or irregular sleep
  • Skin rashes
  • Low energy and libido

It’s also important to recognize that other mental illnesses can coincide with anorexia, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders
  • Substance abuse

Mental illnesses can amplify the symptoms of an eating disorder and compound the health risks, making it even more important to receive professional help.

Anorexia nervosa is widely regarded as the most deadly mental illness because it has a higher mortality rate  than any other mental illness, according to important research. Because of the psychological and physiological complexity of anorexia, a comprehensive approach is required. Treatment should include help from an experienced, multidisciplinary treatment team in a program that offers medical and psychiatric stabilization, nutritional counseling, and psychological support.

Why get help for an eating disorder?

Willpower alone does not cure anorexia, because anorexia is a disease. Many people suffer from eating disorders. Their lives are controlled by food. Losing weight becomes the focus of their existence. They often feel guilty, isolated, depressed, and ashamed. They may be binge purging or starving themselves. All of them have one thing in common: they are suffering from an eating disorder which can be fatal if left untreated. With professional support, lifelong recovery and freedom from an eating disorder can be achieved. They key to recovery is to understand the cause of the self-destructive behavior and to acquire the tools to facilitate necessary changes.

Can a person really recover from anorexia nervosa?

We’re pleased to tell you that a full, lasting recovery from anorexia is absolutely possible. Broohaven Hospital’s Pathway program for eating disorders is designed specifically for those struggling with anorexia nervosa and other eating-related disorders.

Left untreated, anorexia can be fatal, but it doesn’t have to reach that point. If you or someone you know has anorexia, contact Brookhaven Hospital today at 888-298-4673.


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