Treatments for Eating Disorders
People with eating disorders often do not recognize or admit that they are ill. As a result, they may resist starting and staying in treatment. Family members or other trusted people can help to ensure that the person with an eating disorder receives needed care and rehabilitation. For some people, treatment may be long term.Eating disorders can be successfully treated and a healthy weight restored. The sooner your disorder is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcomes are likely to be. Because of their complexity, eating disorders require a comprehensive treatment plan. Treatment involves medical care and monitoring, psychosocial interventions, nutrition counseling, and, when appropriate, medication management. Treatment of anorexia calls for a specific program that involves three main phases:
- Restoring you to a healthy weight and keeping you there
- Treating psychological disturbances, such as distortion of body image, low self-esteem, and interpersonal conflicts
- Achieving long-term remission and rehabilitation or full recovery
General Treatment Guidelines for Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating DisorderThe primary goals of treatment for bulimia are to:
- Stop binging
- Stop purging—in the case of bulimia
- Provide education about healthy eating habits and nutrition
- Focus self-esteem away from body image and shape
Eating disorders. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/index.shtml . Updated 2011. Accessed July 11, 2013.
Williams P, Goodie J, et al. Treating eating disorders in primary care. Am Fam Physician. 2008 Jan 15;77(2):187-95. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/0115/p187.html . Accessed July 11, 2013.
Yager J, Devlin MJ, et al. Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Patients with Eating Disorders. 3rd ed. American Psychiatric Association; 2006. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=9318 . Accessed July 11, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/07/2014