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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, or by bingeing and purging. This means eating large amounts quickly and then vomiting or using laxatives to prevent weight gain. You worry about weight gain, and you judge your weight and shape. The weight loss is not related to another medical condition.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.

Vital signs:

Healthcare providers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. Vital signs give information about your current health.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.


  • Antianxiety medicine decreases anxiety and helps you feel calm and relaxed.
  • Anticonvulsants control seizures and decrease violent behavior, aggression, or irritability. This medicine may help control your mood swings.
  • Antidepressants help decrease or prevent the symptoms of depression.
  • Mood stabilizers help control mood changes.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements may be needed if you are malnourished. You may need to take a mineral supplement, such as potassium. You may also need to take multivitamins to replace what your body has lost.


  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give healthcare providers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
  • Bone density pictures may be used to check for bone loss. Bone loss can happen if you are female and no longer have a monthly period.

  • X-ray pictures may be used to check for a lung infection.


  • Nutrition therapy means healthcare providers will help you create a plan to reach a healthy weight for your height. The plan includes appropriate exercise and nutrition. You may also need extra fluids if you are dehydrated.
  • TPN: TPN stands for total parenteral nutrition. It is also called hyperalimentation. It provides your body with nutrition such as protein, sugar, vitamins, minerals, and sometimes fat (lipids). TPN is used when you have problems with eating or digesting food. TPN is usually put into your body through a large IV catheter, such as a central line. You may need TPN for several days or longer.
  • A nasogastric (NG) tube may be put into your nose and down into your stomach. Liquid food may be given through your NG tube.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to help you learn the reasons you are unhappy with your body. A therapist will work with you to change your behaviors and decrease your negative feelings about food and your weight.
  • Group or family 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.


Anorexia nervosa can cause serious health problems from malnutrition. Malnutrition means your body is not getting enough calories, protein, and other nutrients to be healthy. Your bones might become brittle and be at increased risks for fractures. Your heart, brain, and other organs can be damaged from lack of nutrition.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Learn more about Anorexia Nervosa (Inpatient Care)

Associated drugs

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Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference Guides (External)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.