Successful treatment for anorexia nervosa in the Twin Cities

It’s normal to care about what you’re eating. But it’s possible to become fixated on restricting calories and limiting what you eat out of fear of gaining weight. When this happens, you might have an eating disorder called anorexia nervosa.

Someone with anorexia may equate self-worth with their weight. They strive to lose weight and can be fixated on the shape of their body. People with anorexia can develop a distorted image of their body. They might be dangerously thin but see themselves as much larger. If left untreated, anorexia can lead to malnutrition, depression, anxiety, isolation from family and friends, and severe health complications.

At Melrose Center, your healing comes first. Our licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, medical doctors, registered dietitians and other specialists work together as a team to provide expert, individualized care. With over 35 years of successfully treating anorexia, we can help you heal your body, mind and relationship with food.

Symptoms of anorexia

Anorexia is a complicated condition that can affect you physically, mentally and emotionally. It also affects each person differently, which means that you can’t tell if someone has anorexia just by looking at them. Instead, it’s important to look for common symptoms if you suspect you or a loved one is dealing with anorexia.

Anorexia symptoms typically fall into two categories:

Physical anorexia symptoms

  • Dizziness or feeling light-headed
  • Significant weight loss
  • Fine hair growth on your body and face
  • Hair loss
  • Irregular or absent periods
  • Low testosterone levels in men
  • Lower body temperature or constantly feeling cold
  • Slowed heart rate or low blood pressure
  • Unusually dry skin or brittle nails
  • Weak muscles

Emotional or behavioral anorexia symptoms

  • Avoiding entire food groups or skipping meals
  • Constantly weighing yourself
  • Distorted body image
  • Eating only low-calorie foods or using gum and water to feel full
  • Exercising excessively to make up for eating
  • Extreme dieting, food rituals and fasting
  • Feeling depressed or irritable
  • Feeling tense during meals or refusing to eat with friends and family
  • Intense fear of being overweight
  • Isolating yourself from family and friends
  • Layering clothes to cover up weight loss
  • Low sense of self-worth
  • Obsessing over food and eating (constantly talking about food, calories or fat)

Diagnosing anorexia

If you think you have anorexia, your first step is to schedule an initial assessment at Melrose Center. An initial assessment is an appointment where you’ll meet with a licensed psychologist and/or a primary care clinician.

During your appointment, we’ll ask you about your symptoms and medical history, listen to your concerns and answer your questions. By the end of the assessment, we’ll give you a diagnosis and suggest the best treatment for your unique condition. Then, one of our care managers will help you schedule your next appointments and answer questions about your next steps.

You can schedule an initial assessment by calling 952-993-6200.

Treating anorexia

Treatment of anorexia includes education and therapy. At Melrose Center, all of our patients work with therapists and dietitians who will help you understand your condition, teach you positive coping strategies and help you get the nutrition you need to fuel your body and mind.

During therapy sessions, you’ll discuss your thoughts, feelings and behaviors that affect your eating habits and body image. Our therapists will work with you to improve your confidence, sense of self and develop the skills you need to handle complex situations in healthy ways.

Anorexia affects each person differently. After your diagnosis, we’ll recommend the first steps of your treatment. Depending on your symptoms, we might recommend:

Outpatient treatment

Outpatient treatment means you’ll visit Melrose Center but continue to live at home and maintain a normal schedule. It might include a combination of individual appointments with therapists and registered dietitians, group sessions and guided meals. We offer outpatient treatment at all of our locations.

Residential treatment

For more complex cases of anorexia, we might recommend residential treatment. During residential treatment, you’ll stay at Melrose Center. You’ll get 24/7 support and guidance from a team of experts. In addition to individual and group therapy sessions, you’ll have guided meals and snacks, trips to the grocery store and other learning activities. After you complete residential treatment, you may transition to our partial hospitalization program or outpatient care.

Intensive residential treatment

Sometimes, people recovering from anorexia need daily support from medical doctors in order to stabilize their health. During intensive residential treatment, you’ll have daily visits with a medical doctor, multiple individual and group therapy sessions, support from registered dietitians, 24-hour nursing care and other support while you recover. After you complete intensive residential treatment, you may transition to our residential program, partial hospitalization, or outpatient care.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)