The eating disorder anorexia nervosa affects thousands of people around the world. It is a serious condition that many adults and adolescents suffer in silence. Often known by the shorter term, anorexia, anorexia nervosa is a disorder having to do with the consumption of food. Typically, anorexia patients will not consume enough food and display overwhelming anxiety over the idea of weight gain. Such actions cause serious physical problems, such as weakness, hormonal issues, low bone mass, malnutrition and mental illness.
There are many ways that doctors choose to approach the problem of anorexia. There are both accepted therapeutic methods to treating anorexia, as well as alternative choices. The most popular choice for anorexia therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy aims to change the patient’s perceptions and beliefs about themselves and their appearance, encouraging positive eating schedules and gradual weight gain. Often, this type of therapy is a slow process aimed at developing long-lasting behaviors that will prevent future anorexic behavior.
Family therapy is another style of anorexia therapy that takes the anorexic patient away from what may be perceived as an individualized attack. The Maudsely Family Therapy program seems to be especially effective in this area. Family therapy makes anorexic patients feel more supported and encourages the entire family unit to support recovery. They can aid the patient in their weight gain program, help control food intake and address familial problems that may be contributing to the behavior.
Other therapeutic methods include stress-decreasing activities like sports or yoga, but only with ongoing support. Some anorexic patients will enter into an institution if they have further complications alongside their anorexia nervosa. These institutions encourage them to accept their issues and work towards similar therapeutic goals. Some programs focus primarily on social improvements in the patient, since anorexia nervosa can be brought on the extreme anxiety about accepted social perceptions and appearances. These varied approaches have all met with success, and still aid anorexia nervosa patients today.