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Eating Disorders: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Sep 03, 2019

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are mental disorders that cause persistent abnormal eating habits that have a great adverse impact on the physical and mental health of a person. Eating disorders make people focus on their body shape, weight, and their food, developing extremely unhealthy and downright dangerous eating behaviours.

What are the types of eating disorders?

The most well known among eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge eating disorder.

  • Anorexia Nervosa is the condition where a person suffers from a fear of gaining weight and severely restricts food intake, causing a very low body weight. The patient considers themselves to be overweight even when they would be extremely underweight. They continue to limit food intake trying to become thinner. Anorexic people may also indulge in purging behaviour, but differs from bulimia in the fact that anorexic patients are always severely underweight.
  • Bulimia Nervosa is another disorder where the patient goes through cycles of sudden overeating followed by attempts to compensate including forced vomiting, excessive exercise, intake of laxatives, etc. Overeating and purging cycles cause embarrassment, feelings of guilt and shame, and is repeated secretly to avoid the shame. While bulimic patients fall in the normal to the overweight category.
  • Patients suffering from the binge eating disorder go through cycles of overeating regularly, but do not indulge in purging behaviour.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Eating disorders manifest as persisting abnormal eating habits. Anybody who is very seriously underweight and yet regularly insists on eating far lesser than necessary is eligible for treatment. People who are very anxious about their weight and body shape often develop eating disorders and need to be treated.

People who regularly get urgent craving for food at random times during the day and eat massive amounts compulsively need to be treated for eating disorders. Also people who regularly eat inedible items like dirt, talcum powder, toothpastes, etc. need to be treated for eating disorders.

How to recover from an eating disorder?

Treatments for eating disorders need to be followed up with a nutritional chart designed and tailored to recover normal BMI for patients. A psychoanalytic checkup may be advised after some time after the treatment concludes to rule out any chances of relapse.


What is the price of treatment in India?

Cost of treatments for eating disorders can range between Rs. 500 and Rs. 10,000. There is no real upper limit pertaining to the treatment as psychotherapy can extend for as long as needed.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Like other psychoanalytic treatments, treatments for eating disorders are long term treatments. The recovery period is as long as the duration of the treatment, which is stopped after the problem is resolved.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The treatment results are usually permanent as long as the triggers causing eating disorder do not reappear, or other triggers do not come into play.

Key Highlights

Safety: Condition

Effectiveness: High

Timeliness: Medium

Relative Risk: Low

Side Effects: Low

Time For Recovery: Medium

Price Range: Rs. 500 - Rs. 10,000


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Written ByDt. Ms. Archana Desai P.G.In Dietitics,BSc - Dietitics / NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist
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