Signs and symptoms
Help, it sounds like me!
Treatment for anorexia
Recovery and getting help
It wasn’t so long ago that treatment for anorexia consisted
of just a stay in hospital being fed (or force fed for
the really lucky ones) until the individual had put
on enough weight to satisfy the doctors. Then the patient
was discharged and the doctors could congratulate themselves
on another job well done… until the patient returned
again, and again, and again. Where had they gone wrong?
Anorexia is NOT a purely physical illness, but it has
only been until fairly recently that the psychological
aspects have been understood. Fortunately, treatment
now tends to be far kinder (and, therefore, far more
effective) than it was in days gone by. Nowadays, hospitalization
is a last resort rather than the first one and is only
a possibility for anorectics whose weight is dangerously
low. You should NOT assume that getting help automatically
means you will end up in hospital.
Unless the sufferer’s weight is dangerously low, psychological
treatment is by far the most important aspect of a person’s
treatment. Therapy and psychiatric help are widely available
and the patient will usually be referred to one by their
doctor or a specialist. The ultimate aim of psychological
treatment will be to explore any previously unresolved
issues from within the patient’s life.
Clearly, the decision to hospitalize someone is not
taken lightly and will usually only be considered for
someone whose weight is dangerously low. The patient’s
treatment is administered by psychiatrists rather than
nutrionists, the aim being to bring their weight to
a safe level. Typically, this is achieved through a
system of privileges, e.g. the patient is allowed to
go out or watch TV in return for eating.† This
method is somewhat controversial because the patient’s
psychological needs may not be taken into account at
this point. However, most good hospital programs should
work with psychiatrists to ensure that the patient is
also receiving mental healthcare.
Upon leaving hospital, it is important for the patient
to continue to see a therapist. Just because his or
her weight may now be at a safe level does not mean
the anorexia is "cured". Indeed, an eating
disorder is something which can stay lurking in the
background for the rest of a sufferer’s life.
Specialist treatment centers
There are many good specialist treatment centers in
the US, but they can be few and far between in other
countries. A specialist center will offer a supportive
environment in which the patient has contact with other
sufferers and benefits from one-to-one counseling and
therapy. Some centers may be for women only, so don’t
be discouraged if you are male and have an eating disorder.
There are plenty of facilities which accomodate both
males and females.
Specialist centers in the United States
Milestones in Recovery
Milestones offers a 12-step, inpatient treatment
program in a lovely residential setting in Florida.
Tel: 1-800-347-2364 / Web site: http://www.milestonesinrecovery.com
Specialist centers in the United Kingdom
The Priory Hospital
London-based center which offers in and out-patient
facilities for sufferers of anorexia and bulimia.
Tel: 020 8876 8261 / Web site: http://www.priory-hospital.co.uk
The International Eating Disorders Centre
Offers a nine-bedded home for males and females
suffering from anorexia, bulimia, overeating and other
Tel: 01296 330557 / Web site: http://www.eatingdisorderscentre.co.uk
You can find a list of therapists and more specialist
centers on our treatment
Treatment in a specialist center in the United States
can be expensive, even with medical insurance. Not all
insurance companies will take on somebody with a history
of eating disorders or you may find you are not covered
for certain types of healthcare. Tell
me more about treatment under insurance.
Go on to recovery and
Source: †Hodgkinson, Liz – "Eating
Disorders: Your Questions Answered", © Ward