Anorexia Nervosa | Eating Disorders Association (N.I.) Online Support Service

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Anorexia Nervosa

GETTING HELP

Anorexia is a serious disorder and should not be left untreated. Both the physical and the psychological aspects of the disorder should be assessed and monitored. Treatment will vary according to the individual.

  • The family doctor is often the first point of contact. A person may work towards recovery with their GP, or the GP may refer them to an alternative treatment route.
  • Individual psychotherapy and family therapy can be useful in addressing the psychological and emotional issues that may be underlying the disorder.
  • Nutritional counselling can increase a person’s understanding of how their diet and eating patterns are a ecting them physically, mentally and socially. However, nutritional counselling alone may not be recommended.
  • Some people may require specialised inpatient or outpatient treatment. If this is the case, your family doctor will be able to advise you on the different options available to you.
  • Support groups can help to break social isolation and encourage recovery, in conjunction with some of the other options listed above.

PEOPLE CAN AND DO RECOVER

RECOVERY

Because of the nature of the disorder, a person with anorexia nervosa may have diffculty acknowledging the seriousness of the risks to their physical and their mental health. The prospect of recovery can be very frightening because the disorder feels like their safety net and resistance to treatment is normal.

This may have the effect of delaying access to appropriate treatment and can cause severe distress for carers and family members.

Carers should seek information and support for themselves to increase their understanding of the disorder and their ability to help. Attending a support group for family and friends can be helpful at this time.

The time needed for recovery from anorexia nervosa varies according to each individual.

The disorder may be established for a long time before a person seeks help, and so recovery is often slow, and can take an extended period of time. This is not necessarily a negative thing. The process of the person trusting enough to let go of the disorder is one that they must feel able to take at their own pace.

Recovery happens in small steps, and relapse, where it occurs, should be understood as a natural part of this process.

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