Coping With Anxiety During Anorexia Nervosa Treatment

When anorexia nervosa and anxiety co-occur, as they often do, it can interfere with a complete recovery.

The symptoms caused by these conditions can complicate anorexia nervosa recovery by sparking the types of emotions that result in disordered eating behaviors to cope. Therefore, people who are going through anorexia nervosa treatment need effective, non-destructive methods to deal with anxiety during and after treatment. By taking this approach, it is possible to manage the symptoms of both anxiety and anorexia nervosa to become fully recovered.


Treatment Approaches for Anxiety and Binge Eating Disorder

Most eating disorder treatment centers offer many different levels of care. They are arranged so that co-occurring disorders like anxiety can be treated alongside the eating disorder. Each client should receive an individualized treatment plan that takes their symptom types and severity into account.

Anxiety treatment can be secure at both residential and outpatient eating disorder programs – it’s common enough to be considered an essential part of most treatment programs. These programs are centered around helping people in treatment learn life skills and build their coping abilities. Through a combination of therapy, nutritional education, and real-world activities, individuals can rebuild their relationship with food and eating.

The types of therapy typically include one-on-one sessions with their counselors and also in group sessions with their peers. Family counseling sessions can also help long-term recovery chances by providing a solid support foundation. Through these counseling sessions and other supportive activities, it’s possible to begin managing their eating disorder and anxiety symptoms.


Tips for Coping with Anxiety While in Anorexia NervosaTreatment

Anxiety symptoms can derail the efforts of people in anorexia nervosa treatment, so their management is imperative. While in eating disorder treatment, here are some useful techniques that might be taught to people working on their recovery:


Mindful Meditation

Through mindful meditation, individuals can identify, acknowledge, and release the anxious thoughts and feelings that come their way. Mindfulness is a key factor in most modern eating disorder treatment programs for a reason; it allows people to look at their feelings and behaviors objectively. This allows them to observe their thought patterns without judgment to let the stress and anxiety be more manageable. This practice also helps promote emotional regulation by clearing the mind, slowing breathing, and reducing stress. With time, these individuals can learn to productively manage the underlying causes of the anxiety to let their body and mind calm down.



Anxiety can cause people to compulsively focus on their own fears and worries – a useful way to redirect their focus is to take up a new hobby or rediscover an old favorite. With this useful distraction, people in treatment can reroute their focus to another activity. Hobbies are a great way to remain distracted while waiting for relief from anxiety. The best part is that anything can be a hobby. People in treatment often engage in art therapy while in-house – that can be a stepping stone to a painting hobby or learning an instrument, or writing. It doesn’t have to be artistic, though. Doing a crossword puzzle, traveling, or best of all, cooking and culinary pursuits are all possible hobbies.



Excellent self-care practices such as meditation and yoga can relieve stress and help recovered people feel less anxious. Self-care assists in preventing anxiety, but it can also be used to find relief. Self-care can be a simple act, however. Taking a long bath or spending time in nature, for example, can help reduce anxious thoughts and calm the soul. Even spending time with loved ones can be an act of self-care for those who are charged by social activities.


Managing Anorexia Nervosa and Anxiety Symptoms

With anorexia nervosa treatment, individuals can learn to manage their eating disorders and anxiety. The treatment of all co-occurring conditions makes it easier for patients to purposefully work toward becoming recovered. The coping skills and other techniques learned in binge eating treatment can continue to support them after they graduate from the program and transition back home.

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