Anorexia Nervosa - Treatment

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Written by Dr. Vivekanand, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Reeja Tharu, M.Phil.,Ph.D on Feb 14, 2016
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Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa

There are two methods to treat Anorexia - short term and long term.These are usually combined for effective management of the condition.

The general line of treatment is in two phases that can often be merged with each other for effective management.

  • Short-term treatment;
    • Done to ensure weight gain and to correct nutritional deficiencies.
  • Long-term treatment;
    • That is aimed at maintaining the normal weight that needs to be achieved after short-term treatment and preventing relapses.

The various methods of treatment include-

  • Behaviour therapy - This line of treatment is based on providing positive support (sometimes even negative) to help the patient control the binge eating habits.
  • Individual psychotherapy - This therapy helps the patient in -
    • Developing self-esteem
    • Assertiveness
    • Helps them streamline their social skills
    • Teaches them how to deal with 'stress and pressure' in life.
  • Group therapy and family therapy - This involves educating the patients and their family about the condition and this will include getting rid of current social beliefs about slimming and fitness.
  • Drug - It is very important to follow a drug regime along with other treatment therapies. They help in inducing weight gain, decreasing depressive symptoms and increasing appetite. The drugs include-
    • Chlorpromazine
    • Tricyclic antidepressants
    • Cyproheptadine
  • Hospitalisation. If adequate care is given by ensuring proper food intake followed by controlled weight gain, it can be very helpful in the short-term treatment of the condition.

References:

  1. Shorter Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry (IVth Edition): Oxford University Press,Michael Gelder, Richard Mayou & Philip Cowen.
  2. A Short Textbook of Psychiatry (Vth Edition): Jaypee Brothers,Niraj Ahuja, MD.
  3. Porter, Roy. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity. New York: W.W. Norton; 1997, p. 706
  4. MacLeod, Sheila. The Art of Starvation. London: 1981 [As cited in Turner BS, The Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory. Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell; 1984, p. 186].
  5. Gull, William Withey. Anorexia nervosa (apepsia hysterica, anorexia hysterica). Trans Clin Soc Lond. 1874; 7:22-8.
  6. MacLeod, Sheila. The Art of Starvation. London : 1981 [As cited in Turner BS, The Body and Society: Explorations in Social Theory. Oxford, England : Basil Blackwell; 1984, p. 186].
  7. Porter, Roy. The Greatest Benefit to Mankind: A Medical History of Humanity. New York : W.W. Norton; 1997, p. 706
  8. Anorexia Nervosa: The Race For Weight Loss - (http://www.something-fishy.org/whatarethey/anorexia.php)

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