How is anorexia nervosa diagnosed?
Parents, teachers, coaches, or instructors may be able to identify the child or adolescent who may be developing anorexia nervosa, although many people with the disorder initially keep their illness very private and hidden. However, a pediatrician, child psychiatrist or a qualified mental health professional with expertise in eating disorders is needed to diagnose anorexia nervosa in children and adolescents. A detailed history of the child’s behavior from parents and teachers, clinical observations of the child’s behavior, and, sometimes, psychological testing contribute to the diagnosis. Parents who note symptoms of anorexia nervosa in their child or teen can help by seeking an evaluation and treatment early. Early treatment can often prevent future problems.
Anorexia nervosa, and the malnutrition that results, can adversely affect nearly every organ system in the body, increasing the importance of early diagnosis and treatment. Anorexia can be fatal. Consult your child’s doctor for more information.
Treatment for anorexia nervosa
Specific treatment for anorexia nervosa will be determined by your child’s doctor based on:
- Your child’s age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of your child’s symptoms
- Your child’s tolerance for specific medications or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the condition