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Causes, symptoms and treatment of eating disorders

Anorexia: Therapy

The first step in therapy is to bring the dangerous consequences of being underweight under control. If there is no acute danger to life, the doctor will not force you to gain weight, but will try to work out a nutrition plan together with the patient. People with anorexia often have a strong need for control and self-determination. Therefore, it helps them if they are given the opportunity to gain weight on their own.

In the case of acute danger to life, this can sometimes take too long. In this case, feeding via a nasogastric tube is required. This is inserted into the stomach either through the nose or through a small opening in the abdominal wall.

What forms of therapeutic treatment are there?

Therapy is only successful in the long term if it addresses the causes of the disease. That is why the sick need psychotherapeutic help as soon as possible. The sooner psychotherapy begins, the lower the risk that the feelings, thoughts and behavior that cause illness will become “chronic”, i.e. become permanent.

There are various psychotherapeutic methods that can help with anorexia. So far, the

Therapy is basically about finding out about the mental conflicts and interpersonal problems that could have led to or contributed to the development of the disease. At the same time, the therapist works with the patient to develop ways of dealing with the feelings and conflicts in a healthier way.

Therapy for anorexia: inpatient or outpatient?

Depending on the severity of the disease, therapy can be either outpatient or inpatient.

  • Outpatient means: The person concerned continues to live at home, but goes regularly to the doctor’s practice and to therapy sessions.
  • Inpatient means: The treatment takes place during a hospital stay.
  • In some cases, a day clinic is a good alternative: the person concerned is cared for there during the day and spends the nights at home.
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Anorexia is also stressful for the relatives of the person affected. Often family members and friends do not know how to deal with the disease. However, social support is an important component on the path to healing. Family-based therapy can therefore also be helpful, especially for anorexic children and adolescents.

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