How to Handle Patients with Anorexia Nervosa



Is a friend or a family member suffering from anorexia nervosa? Learn how to cure this dangerous obsession by following these procedures.

Diagnosing anorexia nervosa is difficult, but it is even more difficult to treat one who has the dangerous psychological disorder. This is because people with anorexia believe that there is really nothing wrong with them. They are always in denial.

Since anorexia nervosa is a psychological disorder consisting of the person’s belief that everything would be perfect if he remains thin, in his mind there is nothing wrong in not eating properly. The treatment, therefore, would also come from the psychological arena.

It is easier to treat patients who are still in the early stages of anorexia. This means that he has been anorexic for less than six months and has only experienced a small amount of weight loss. In such cases the patient may be successfully treated at home, without the need to going to the hospital or clinic. The important thing to remember is that for successful treatment, the desire to change must spring from the patient himself, coupled with help and support from family and friends.

For people with more serious level of the disorder, a more powerful treatment is necessary. There might be a need to have them cared for in a hospital, particularly in a special unit for people with anorexia and bulimia. The person’s eating habits must be changed and he should be exposed to counseling for a period of a year or more.

Counseling is necessary to anorexia patients in order for them to work on changing the feelings underlying their irregular eating habits which can be anything under the sun. These feelings could be about their weight, family problems, or problems with self-esteem. Sometimes, if the need arises, their doctors may prescribe medicine which could help lessen their depression.

The most important contribution that family and friends can give to a person with anorexia is love. People with anorexia need to feel safe, secure, and comfortable with their illness. Thus, they must not be given cause for anxiety and must always be reminded of their self-worth, regardless of their body weight. Friends and family should keep these persons’ welfare in mind and avoid feeling sorry for them.