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June 3, 2017

What to Expect in Treatment for Anorexia Nervosa

Woman thinking about anorexia treatment

As one of the most fatal of all psychiatric illnesses, anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that impacts a person in many different ways, including physically, emotionally, psychologically, relationally, and more.

For individuals who struggle with anorexia, there is an almost 18-fold increase in mortality, including a higher risk of suicide [1].

In addition, an estimated twenty percent of individuals with anorexia will suffer with this disease chronically [1].

Because of the severity of anorexia and the nature of this mental illness, professional help is a crucial element for recovery and healing. The prognosis of anorexia can be greatly improved with early diagnosis and professional treatment interventions.

Available Treatment for Anorexia

Treatment for anorexia will vary and depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the illness, acuity of symptoms, the presence of any co-occurring disorders, and more. Treatment levels typically range from inpatient options for the most acute cases to outpatient care for patients who are medically and psychiatrically stable.

If you or a loved one has been suffering from anorexia, it is important to have a full assessment completed by an eating disorder specialist to determine what level of care may be most appropriate for you. Treatment efforts will be maximized and most effective when the level of care is matching the individual needs a person may have.

Comprehensive Care for Anorexia Recovery

One of the most important aspects of treatment across levels of care should include a comprehensive approach. Because of the complexity of this illness, a multidisciplinary team is most effective in addressing the many different needs of the individual. This may include, but is not limited to, a psychiatrist, medical physician, therapist and/or counselor, registered dietitian, and social worker.

Particularly at the higher levels of care, working with a treatment team that can provide multi-specialities is optimal, as medical care, nutritional rehabilitation, psychotherapy, and adequate supervision can all be provided within the course of treatment.

Woman in the rainThe main goals of treatment for anorexia should involve the following:

  • Medical stabilization and healing from medical conditions/symptoms associated with anorexia
  • Psychiatric stabilization, including reducing and/or eliminating urges for self-harm
  • Nutritional rehabilitation, including restoration of a healthy body weight, normalization of eating habits, and reduction in food rituals/abnormal eating behaviors
  • Addressing any co-occurring mental illnesses, as well as underlying trauma, through psychotherapy
  • Developing new, healthier and effective coping skills

While the outcomes of eating disorder treatment are difficult to assess, professional treatment for anorexia nervosa can greatly improve a person’s overall quality of life and give them the resources and tools to heal from this devastating disease. If you are in need of professional support for anorexia, be sure to reach out to an eating disorder specialist to begin your recovery journey.

Sponsored by Magnolia Creek

Peacefully nestled in 36 wooded acres and located just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders treats women (18 years and older) who struggle with eating disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, attachment disorders, dissociative disorders, personality disorders, and co-occurring addictive behaviors.

Magnolia Creek’s phenomenal team of therapists, doctors, nurses, and dietitians is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care using current research-supported methods in a cozy, retreat-like setting. With a dual license to treat eating disorders and mental health disorders, we work collaboratively with our clients to create an individualized treatment approach for each client that not only nourishes the body but also strengthens the spirit.

LindasmithAbout the Author: Linda Smith is the Chief Executive Officer of Magnolia Creek Treatment Center for Eating Disorders in Columbiana, Alabama. Prior to joining Magnolia Creek, Linda served as an Electronic Interchange Consultant for Comprehensive Radiology Groups throughout the state.

She also worked with one of the leading facilities in addiction, Pine Grove Behavioral Health and Addiction Services located in Hattiesburg, MS. She has extensive experience in inpatient, outpatient, residential and partial hospitalization treatment, and is well versed in eating disorders, co-occurring mental health disorders, substance abuse, and love and sex addiction.


[1]:  Steinhausen HC.  Outcome of eating disorders.  Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. 2009 Jan:18(1):225-42

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on June 3, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 31, 2017.
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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