How rapid weight restoration and behavioral therapies could treat anorexia nervosa

The implementation of rapid weight gain as a treatment plan for adults with anorexia nervosa may be an effective method, new research by Johns Hopkins University has determined.

The study was published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by an irrational fear of gaining weight and extreme preoccupation with food restriction or avoiding weight gain.

The new research included the analysis of data from 149 adults diagnosed with the eating disorder anorexia as part of a Johns Hopkins-based study.

The majority of the patients, by the end of the study, had achieved a healthy body mass index, upon adhering to a program designed to normalize certain eating and weight control behaviors.

The study determined that implementing that type of nutritional approach can expedite the weight-gaining process, along with a variety of behavioral therapies, and be a beneficial treatment plan for patients.

“Our program is solely meal-based and does not employ tube feeding,” said co-author Angela Guarda in a Johns Hopkins news release. “We want to help our patients translate what they’re learning here to a more real-world environment so they can stay healthy once back at home.”

“Our findings suggest that a meal-based nutritional approach that emphasizes faster weight gain coupled with different types of behavioral therapy and meal support is well tolerated and achieves weight restoration in a majority of patients,” Guarda concluded.

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