Treatment options for anorexia nervosa

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​Find out about the range of in-hospital and outpatient treatments that can help a child recover from anorexia nervosa.

Key points

  • If a child is at an extremely low weight with an irregular heart rate or low blood pressure, they will receive treatment in hospital. This treatment focuses on giving enough nutrition to return the child or teen to a healthy weight and limiting exercise. At home, the goal is to reintroduce all the foods that a child has cut out from their diet.
  • If a child is medically stable, they will be treated at an outpatient eating disorders program by a team of professionals. They will receive psychological treatment and have their weight, heart rate and blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Because anorexia nervosa affects the whole family, psychological treatment will usually involve family-based therapy. Some teens may receive cognitive behavioural therapy.
  • If anorexia nervosa occurs with depression or anxiety, a child or teen may be prescribed antidepressants when they regain some weight.
Last updated: September 12th 2023