The Ultimate Guide to Anorexia Treatment for Adults

Anorexia affects people of all ages and demographics. Learn about anorexia in adults as well as options for anorexia treatment for adults.

Table of Contents

What is Anorexia?

Anorexia is a type of eating disorder that includes restrictive eating and a reduction in calorie consumption.1 Those with anorexia may be obsessed with calorie counting and exercise. They may also weigh themselves repeatedly and obsess over any weight fluctuations. Individuals with anorexia may also use laxatives to prevent weight gain. This obsession with weight loss leads individuals with anorexia to have lower-than-healthy body weights. Anorexia treatment for adults will help with this.2

anorexia treatment for adults

Questions About Treatment?

Let us guide you through your options and treatment opportunities. Contact Alternative Options today.

Symptoms of Anorexia

It can be hard to tell if someone is suffering from anorexia. An individual can look physically healthy and still be anorexic. Symptoms of anorexia become more noticeable over time, increasing in severity. Symptoms of anorexia can include:3
  •  Weight loss or a fixation on thinness 
  •  Excessive exercise or nutrition/calorie tracking 
  • Avoiding specific foods or food groups 
  • Feeling ‘fat’ despite losing weight 
  • Being in denial about your body image 
  • Withdrawing from friends and social activities

Physical Impact of Anorexia

Outside of a low body mass index, anorexia can lead to physical changes. These physical changes include:
  • Developing thin white body hair everywhere 
  • Stomach cramps, acid reflux, and other gastrointestinal complaints 
  • Fainting and muscle weakness
  • Irregular or missed periods. 
  • Dry skin and nails
  • Feeling cold and being unable to warm yourself. 
  • Delayed wound healing. 
  • Weakened immune system.

When Does Anorexia Typically Develop?

Anorexia typically develops during adolescence. Younger individuals (aged 12-25) make up 95% of all people suffering from anorexia. However, anorexia can develop well in adulthood. Usually, anorexia will develop after a period of stress or from ongoing self-esteem issues. Traumatic events can also trigger anorexia in individuals.

Who Is At Risk For Anorexia?

Women are at a higher risk of developing anorexia. Approximately 90% of people with anorexia are female. However, in recent years – more men are being diagnosed with anorexia. Individuals who have experienced trauma or struggled with childhood obesity are also at higher risk. Individuals with mood disorders or other mental health problems such as anxiety or depression are also at higher risk.

A person’s environment can also contribute to the development of anorexia. This includes their physical environment and virtual influences from social media.

Dangers of Anorexia

If left untreated, anorexia can wreak havoc on your health. In extreme cases, untreated anorexia can lead to organ failure and can even be fatal. Untreated anorexia can lead to:4
  • Malnutrition
  • Fertility Issues
  • Osteoporosis and brittle bones 
  • Stomach Ulcers
  • Constipation 
  • Hair loss and brittle nails 
  • Heart problems
  • Severe depression and suicidal ideation.

The Importance of Anorexia Treatment for Adults

Seeking anorexia treatment for adults is just as important as for younger populations. Untreated anorexia at any age can lead to health complications and premature death. Nutritional imbalances can also worsen any other mental health conditions that a person may have. By seeking treatment for anorexia as an adult, you can address your body image issues and make peace with your body for a healthier future.

Options For Anorexia Treatment For Adults

There are a few different options for anorexia treatment for adults. Anorexia treatment for adults often includes more than one type of treatment. Common options for anorexia treatment for adults include:

Psychotherapy and Behavioral Therapy

Both psychotherapy and behavioral therapy are talk therapies designed to get to the root of your issues and resolve them. Psychotherapy helps you unpack the underlying reasons for your anorexia. Behavioral therapy is aimed at helping you change your behavior to lead a healthier life.

Inpatient Hospitalization

For those with severe anorexia, an inpatient stay is often the best choice to help you get back on track. This type of intervention involves a stay at a treatment center. These programs are highly structured and supervised.

Outpatient Programs and Partial Hospitalization Programs

These programs are more relaxed and can be completed from home. These programs require a high level of accountability and regular check-ins. Group therapy and homework can also be a part of these programs. Partial hospitalization programs typically require a part-time stay at a facility. Usually, participants of part-time hospitalization programs spend their day at a facility doing classes and therapy but can return home at night.


Often anorexia is accompanied by depression and anxiety in adults. Medication use is common in anorexia treatment for adults. Commonly used medications include antidepressants and antianxiety drugs.

anorexia treatment for adults

Steps For Seeking Anorexia Treatment For Adults

If you are seeking treatment for anorexia, there are a few steps you can take to make the process easier. Some steps to consider when pursuing anorexia treatment for adults include:
  • Check-In With Your Physician: Involving your regular doctor is a great first step in tackling an eating disorder. Talking about your concerns with your physician can help you determine the type of treatment you will need.
  • Check Your Insurance Coverage: Treatment for eating disorders is often covered by insurance. This can include full coverage for both inpatient and outpatient programs. Calling your insurance and finding your coverage can help you prepare for specialized treatment.  
  • Choose a Program That Works For You and Your Goals: Not all eating disorder treatment centers are created equal. Take time and care in choosing a center that aligns with your goals and beliefs. 
  • Let Your Loved Ones Know: Sharing with the loved ones that you are seeking treatment for an eating disorder will allow them to support you on your recovery journey. Having support from friends and loved ones is key to healing.
  • Stick To Your Treatment Plan: Healing takes time. Sticking to your treatment plan is important, even if you initially feel uncomfortable. Addressing any mental health disorder is never comfortable, but the benefits are well worth it.  
  • Emphasize Self-Care: Being kind and patient with yourself in recovery is important. Take the time to pamper yourself and express self-love. 
  • Learn Your Triggers To Prevent Relapse: Knowing your triggers is key to relapse prevention. You can avoid relapse by knowing what triggers unhealthy eating patterns and critical self-talk. 

Anorexia Treatment for Adults at Alternative Options Counselling Center

Alternative Options proudly offers anorexia treatment for the Orange County Area. We provide multiple levels of care and flexible programs for anorexia treatment. We offer outpatient, intensive programs, partial hospitalization programs, and outpatient counseling. In addition, we also facilitate support groups for body image and eating disorders.

Anorexia treatment for adults at Alternative options include individual and group therapy, art and sound therapy, nutritional counseling, supported meals and snacks, mindful eating, and more. With Alternative Options, you can overcome anorexia and lead the happy, healthy, fulfilling life you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.