Anorexia Treatment Options: Are Some More Successful Than Others?

One of the more difficult eating disorders to treat, anorexia nervosa most commonly affects young women under the age of 30 who think they are overweight even when they weigh far below their recommended weight range. People with anorexia nervosa may manipulate the amount or quantity of food they consume or may obsessively exercise due to their overwhelming fear of putting on weight.

Although family and friends may constantly tell them they are too thin, a person with anorexia nervosa may have such a distorted body image of themselves they simply cannot see what others see. When searching for an answer to “eating disorder counseling near me,” the anorexia treatment options offered at Monte Nido can help teens and young adults with anorexia understand why their eating disorder began and how to address deep-seated issues with self-esteem, self-identity and the compulsive desire to control instead of coping productively.

Psychotherapies for Anorexia Nervosa

Family-based Therapy

An evidence-based treatment for teens with anorexia nervosa, family-based therapy may work well because teens with anorexia nervosa are unable to appropriately perceive their food choices and weight. Involving parents in treatment can help teens understand the potentially dysfunctional roles they assume in the family that may contribute to eating disordered behaviors. Sometimes, several family-based therapy sessions involve just family members and not the teen with anorexia nervosa. Counselors meeting intermittently with just parents and siblings of the teen may facilitate acknowledgment of certain underlying familial issues that require attention.

A particular type of family-based therapy is called the Maudsley Method. Parents of teens with anorexia nervosa are taught how to assume responsibility for ensuring their teen is eating normally and gaining weight. Four controlled trials have been conducted so far to investigate the effectiveness of the Maudsley Method. In two of these trials (Le Grange, 1992 and Eisler, 2000), the researcher found 70 percent of teens with anorexia nervosa returned to their normal weight following completion of a recovery program. In addition, outcomes for younger children with anorexia nervosa (between nine and twelve years old) who participate in family-based therapy showed similar success rates.

Individualized Therapy

Anorexia nervosa treatment options should include an individual therapy component. One-on-one therapy sessions between teens with anorexia and their therapists provide a safe, secure environment in which the therapist helps the teen better understand the role the eating disorder has played and how to challenge these negative thoughts and behaviors.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

In addition to family-based therapy, CBT is highly effective at helping teens with anorexia on the path to recovery. A person-focused, time-limited psychotherapy, CBT offers cognitive tools to help patients understand why they think certain thoughts, immediately recognizing negative self-talk and quickly modifying these thoughts to prevent returning to unhealthy eating habits.

Teens and young adults with anorexia nervosa may be resistant to altering their eating habits. Cognitive behavioral therapy gets patients “on board” by having them participate in assessments of their eating disorder. This directly engages clients by involving them immediately with treatment. CBT therapists also include techniques that may provide patients a new sense of hope about treatment by gently but firmly encouraging clients to take ownership of their recovery.

Medications for Anorexia Nervosa

Although some anorexia nervosa treatment options involve antidepressants, no medications have been approved to specifically treat anorexia nervosa. Antidepressants prescribed to teens with anorexia nervosa are meant to reduce the depression and anxiety commonly co-occurring in individuals with eating disorders.

If you have been wondering if there is eating disorder counseling near you, call Monte Nido at 88.228.1253 today to learn more about our eating disorder treatment options.

Written by Valentin Bosioc

Valentin Bosioc - wellness specialist, certified personal trainer, certified fitness instructor, celebrity trainer, Musclemania Champion, Ninja Warrior Semifinalist, world wide motivator!

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