How do doctors diagnose anorexia nervosa (AN)?

Doctors can diagnose AN with the following tests:

  • Physical exam
  • Asking questions about your child's eating habits and behaviors
  • Blood tests
  • Imaging tests of the bones
  • Interview with a mental health provider about eating behaviors and body image and weight concerns

How do doctors treat anorexia nervosa (AN)?

Treatment focuses on helping your child reach a healthy weight and addressing psychological concerns of AN. The care team will talk with you about creating a treatment plan for your child's medical and mental health needs.

Common treatments supported by research for AN include:

  • For children and teens, family-based therapy (FBT) to learn ways on how your family can support your child during AN treatment
  • For young adults, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help manage your child's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors around AN and body image
  • Meetings with your child's primary care provider or a dietitian
  • For some people, a higher level of care such as hospitalization or residential care is needed to support a person in gaining weight and staying medically stable.

AN can be challenging to treat. The care team can help you and your child create a plan that raises the chances of recovery.