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Q:    I have had two hospitalizations for anorexia nervosa. My family wants me to be hospitalized again. Does anyone really get "cured" from an eating disorder?

A:    Anorexia nervosa is one of the most serious and potentially life-threatening of all psychiatric illnesses. Also, relapse rates are high, meaning that one attempt at treatment may not be enough. But absolutely, individuals do recover from anorexia nervosa. Studies suggest that younger patients are more successful at achieving full recovery, and that treatments that help patients achieve entirely normal weight are more likely to help patients recover. For adult patients who have needed hospitalization, 30-40% will recover fully, 30-40% will improve substantially, but have some residual symptoms of the illness (such as significant preoccupations with food or menstrual irregularities). The remainder may develop a chronic eating disorder.

Q:    What medicines help for bulimia?

A:    Several anti-depressant medications have been studied and found to be beneficial for patients with bulimia nervosa. Interestingly, these medications help patients decrease the frequency of binge eating and purging behaviors, whether or not they have any depressive symptoms. The only medication with specific FDA indication for the treatment of bulimia nervosa is fluoxetine (Prozac) at a recommended dose of 60mg daily.