Eating Disorders Home > Eating Disorder Treatment

There is no single treatment for eating disorders that works in all cases. Treatment options may include psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, and, in some cases, medications. In extreme cases, hospitalization may be required. The earlier an eating disorder is diagnosed, the more successful the treatment is likely to be.

An Overview of Eating Disorder Treatments

Presently, there is no universally accepted standard treatment for eating disorders, which include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Ideally, an integrated approach to treatment would include the skills of:
  • Nutritionists
  • Mental health professionals
  • Endocrinologists
  • Other healthcare providers.
Families and friends offering support and encouragement can play an important role in the success of the eating disorder treatment program.
Despite treatment, relapse rates for eating disorders can be quite high.

Strategies for Treating Eating Disorders

Treatment for an eating disorder is most successful when the disorder is diagnosed. The longer abnormal eating behaviors persist, the more difficult it is to overcome the disorder and its effects on the body.
Because of their complexity, eating disorders require a comprehensive treatment plan involving medical care and monitoring, psychosocial interventions, nutritional counseling, and, when appropriate, medication management. Healthcare providers will use psychotherapy, medications, or a combination of both.
Various types of psychotherapy may be employed as part of eating disorder treatment, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and family and group therapy. Self-esteem enhancement and assertiveness training may also be helpful.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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