What is included in inpatient care for anorexia nervosa?

Updated: Jun 10, 2019
  • Author: Bettina E Bernstein, DO; Chief Editor: Caroly Pataki, MD  more...
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In order to preserve his or her self-esteem and to prevent suicidality and feelings of hopelessness, inpatient management should be approached in such a way as not to seem like punishment to the patient. The goals of inpatient therapy should be fully discussed with the family and the patient, including elements such as developing a healthy meal plan, addressing underlying conflicts (such as low self-esteem) and planning new coping strategies, and enhancing communication skills.

It is essential to monitor the patient's weight, vital signs, and serum electrolyte levels. Although weight gain is a primary goal of treatment, the weight gain should not be excessive, because rapid refeeding can lead to refeeding syndrome: excessive bloating, edema, and, rarely, congestive heart failure (CHF). Leptin and cortisol levels may be helpful in predicting the time to weight recovery. [127]

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