It is possible for a person with anorexia nervosa to fully recover from their illness. Full recovery may take some time.
Research shows that treatment for anorexia nervosa in the early stages of the illness offers the best chance of recovery, so it is important to seek help as soon as possible if you or someone you know has anorexia nervosa.
Restoring good nutrition and a healthy weight is the essential first step to recovery, and this allows psychotherapy to work effectively. If the person has life threatening medical complications or is extremely low weight, they may need to spend time in hospital.
The most effective treatment for anorexia nervosa generally requires a team approach, which may include a dietitian, psychologist, family therapist and sometimes a psychiatrist.
A psychologist may provide a mental health assessment and can help a person with anorexia nervosa learn behaviours to return to and maintain a healthy weight. There are different types of therapies available to people with anorexia nervosa.
Antidepressants and other medicines are sometimes used to treat anorexia nervosa. But the person will also need psychological therapy as well.
Anorexia nervosa can cause a range of physical problems that may require medical treatment. People with severe anorexia nervosa may require hospitalisation.
It's common for people with the condition to relapse, so ongoing follow-up and treatment for anorexia nervosa is important.
Where to get help
If you or someone you know might have anorexia nervosa, contact the following organisations for support, information and counselling:
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Last reviewed: June 2019