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Anorexia Nervosa


Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder. You weigh much less than your normal body weight should be. You lose weight by eating very little food, vomiting to avoid weight gain, and exercising too much. The weight loss is not related to another medical condition.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need blood tests once you start taking medicine for anorexia. These tests are used to check how much medicine is in your blood. Your healthcare provider will use the results of these tests to decide the right amount of medicine for you. You may need to have these blood tests more than once. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: This is also called CBT. You and a therapist will work together to learn the reasons you are unhappy with your body. The therapist will work with you to change your behaviors and decrease your negative feelings about food and your weight.
  • Group or family therapy: Group therapy is a meeting you have with other people who also have anorexia nervosa. Family therapy is a meeting you have with healthcare providers and your family members. Group and family meetings are a time when you talk with others about ways to cope with anorexia nervosa.


  • Antianxiety: This medicine decreases anxiety and helps you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Antidepressants: This medicine helps decrease or prevent the symptoms of depression.
  • Anticonvulsants: This medicine controls seizures and decreases violent behavior, aggression, or irritability. This medicine may also help control mood swings.
  • Mood stabilizers: This medicine controls mood changes.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements: You may need to take multivitamins and a mineral supplement, such as potassium, if you become malnourished. Ask your healthcare provider which vitamins and minerals are right for you.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

For support and more information:

  • National Eating Disorders Association
    165 West 46th Street
    New York , NY 10036
    Phone: 1- 212 - 575-6200
    Phone: 1- 800 - 931-2237
    Web Address:
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Public Information & Communication Branch
    6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
    Bethesda , MD 20892-9663
    Phone: 1- 301 - 443-4513
    Phone: 1- 866 - 615-6464
    Web Address:

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are not able to make it to your next appointment.
  • You force yourself to vomit, or you are vomiting without trying.
  • You are not able to sleep well or are sleeping more than usual.
  • You are constipated.
  • You have questions or concerns about anorexia or your treatment.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You want to harm or kill yourself.
  • Your heart is fluttering.
  • You have a rash, swelling, or trouble breathing after you take your medicine.
  • You cannot do your daily activities.
  • You have severe stomach pains.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.