Anorexia can be described as an eating disorder typified by deliberate refusal to eat enough food needed to maintain a healthy body weight. Consequently, the body and mind are deprived of the nutrients needed for optimum functionality. Anorexia is common among adolescents but just like any other eating disorder it can be developed at any stage of life. The need to feel in charge of one’s life is the primary reason why most people embark on a self starvation mission.
The best treatments for anorexia seek to address underlying causes which most of the time have to do with a person’s self esteem and image. While treating anorexia can be challenging, full recovery is possible if appropriate treatment and support is sought early enough. The type of treatment administered on a patient who is anorexic depends of how severe the condition is.
A patient may be treated as an out, day or inpatient. In instances where the level of weight loss is extreme, he or she may be admitted in a specialist center. For further insights, here’s a comprehensive look at various treatments for anorexia and what to expect with each treatment.
Anorexia is associated with a myriad of complications and the need to place a patient under frequent monitoring may be necessary so as to constantly check on hydration levels, electrolytes as well as other related conditions.
In extreme cases, patients with anorexia may be fed through a tube placed on the nose extending all the way to the stomach. Medical care can be coordinated by a doctor or other health care professional. However, in some cases a mental health provider may be in charge of the entire process.
Restoring a Healthy Weight
The initial tips of anorexia are geared towards the patient get back to a healthy weight. It’s almost impossible for patients to recover from an eating disorder without restoring an appropriate weight and learning proper nutrition first. A psychologist can work with the patient to come up with a strategy aimed at restoring healthy weight.
A dietitian can provide guidance on a healthy diet by outlining specific meal plans and calorie needs that will help increase the patient’s weight.
Psychotherapy is the most common treatment for anorexia. It may involve devotion of significant amounts of time and financial commitment especially if the patient is besieged by other issues such as depression, sexual abuse and drugs as well as relationship problems.
Some of the psychological treatments for anorexia include;
Individual Therapy – This form of therapy helps the patient deal with behavior and thoughts that contribute to anorexia. It enables the patient adopt a healthier self esteem and learn positive ways to deal with distress and other strong feelings.
A type of talk therapy referred to as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is commonly used. It may be carried out as a day treatment program, but in some instances it forms the part of treatment in a psychiatric hospital.
Family Based Therapy – This form of therapy is based on the assumption that the patient has an eating disorder and is incapable of making sound decisions when it comes to his or her health. It is for this reason that help from family members becomes important.
The family members ensure that the patient embarks on healthy eating patterns. Family based therapy can help resolve disputes between family members and assemble support from apprehensive members. This form of therapy is particularly helpful for adolescents who are still living under their parents care.
Group Therapy – This type of therapy helps individuals suffering from anorexia connect with others facing the same problem. While casual support groups may be helpful, it is important to note that they should be led by a mental health professional. Chances of patients competing for the thinnest tag cannot be ruled out.
There are no specific medications to address anorexia yet. However, antidepressants together with other psychiatric medications can help deal with mental disorders seeing that anorexia patients may be suffering from depression and anxiety.
In cases characterized by extreme malnutrition, medical complications, psychiatric emergencies and prolonged refusal to eat hospitalization may be a viable option. Hospitalization can be in a medical or psychiatric ward. Some clinics focus in treating patients with eating disorders while others offer day programs instead of full hospitalization.
Specialized eating disorders provide more a comprehensive treatment in the long run. Patients should continually seek therapy and nutrition education even after hospitalization for continued recovery.
One of core challenges in treating anorexia is that some people don’t view it as an illness but a lifestyle choice instead and are less concerned about addressing the problem. Anorexia can turn out to be a life long battle and it’s imperative that individuals be encouraged to take any of the above treatments for anorexia depending on the severity.