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Use Nutrition Therapy to Treat Anorexia


A serious life-threatening eating disorder where people have the perception that they are overweight when in fact they are extremely underweight, anorexia can be deadly if left untreated.

In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, people who suffer from anorexia are 18 times more likely to die early than people without an eating disorder.

If you or someone you know suffers from anorexia, it’s important to know that there are effective treatments. Anorexia treatment may include nutrition therapy, psychotherapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy, prescription medications such as antidepressants, and ongoing medical monitoring.

Nutrition Therapy

Nutrition therapy is a form of counseling, psychotherapy, or “talk therapy” where a registered dietitian or nutritionist educates a patient about meal planning, goal setting and overall nutrition education. The goal of nutrition therapy is to help the anorexic to cultivate a better relationship with food and better understand that food is needed to remain healthy.

What Is Nutrition Education?

People with anorexia believe a lot of distorted and inaccurate information about food and how it affects the body. The role of nutrition education is to help teach sufferers how best to eat in moderation, which is too little in the case of anorexia.

What Is Meal Planning?

An important tool used in nutrition therapy, meal planning provides an overall framework for healthy eating. Meal planning includes determining appropriate portions of food and what to eat from each food group at each meal or snack in order to help maintain a healthy weight.

What Is Psychotherapy?

A form of psychotherapy called cognitive-behavior therapy is often used in the treatment of anorexia because it encourages positive changes in negative behavior patterns. For example, the nutritionist will work with the person to encourage him or her to go to a grocery store to buy food or visit a restaurant to eat a meal. These types of changes usually are done on a gradual basis in order to help the person overcome his or her battle with anorexia.

Sources: National Institute of Mental Health