Anorexia in Teens: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Anorexia is a type of eating disorder. Teens who have anorexia don't eat enough to stay at a normal weight. Sometimes they also exercise too much. They do these things because they're so afraid of gaining weight. They believe that they're fat, even when they're thin. Often they think that losing even more weight will solve their problems and make their lives better.

If you have anorexia, it can really harm your health. This is because your body doesn't get the nutrition it needs. The first step to controlling the problem is admitting that something is wrong. Then counselling can help you change how you think about food, the way you see your body, and any other emotional issues. It may take months or years, but you can recover from anorexia.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Follow your treatment plan

  • Go to your counselling sessions. Call or talk with your counsellor if you can't go or if you think the sessions aren't helping. Don't just stop going.
  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.

Trust people who are helping you

  • Listen to what counsellors and nutrition experts say about healthy eating.
  • Learn about what is included in a balanced diet. Then discuss what you learn.
  • Let people know how you are feeling. Listen to how they are feeling too.
  • Accept support and feedback from other people.

Learn to be easier on yourself

  • Learn to focus on your good qualities.
  • If your body feels weak, slow down and do less.
  • Remind yourself that feeling bad about yourself is all part of your disorder.
  • Remember that it takes time to recover from anorexia.
  • Spend time with other people doing things you enjoy.
  • Try to focus on one goal at a time.
  • Don't blame yourself for your disorder.

Develop healthy eating habits

  • With your doctor and counsellor, you will decide on a good weight for you. You will also decide how much weight you will gain each week.
  • Even though it will be hard at first, try to eat slowly during meals. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed by the idea of eating a meal.
  • Talk with other people during meals about things that interest you. Don't talk about food or gaining weight.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You are thinking about suicide or are threatening suicide.
  • You feel you cannot stop from hurting yourself or someone else.
  • You have a rapid or irregular heartbeat.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You feel hopeless or have thoughts of hurting yourself.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have trouble sleeping.
  • You feel anxious or depressed.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Current as of: December 7, 2017