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How do you get an anorexia patient to eat?

Posted Sep 01 2012 10:27am
The question seems so obvious and yet so impossible: food is medicine for the psychological symptoms of eating disorders but HOW? The patient generally doesn't believe it, doesn't want it, is terrified of it, will do almost anything to avoid it, and has the final say: a closed mouth.

So how is this miracle achieved? Is it "force feeding?" Is it begging? Threats? Nope. It's closing all the other doors and predictable structure.

Residential care does initial refeeding very well because compliance is pretty much guaranteed. Patients rarely refuse, and if so not for long. Most patients begin to eat the very first day even when they were unable to do so at home.

Timing is Everything.

There's a lesson here for those refeeding at home, too: clear structure, expectations, and Plan B.
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