Families of young girls suffering from anorexia nervosa and to lesser extent adolescent boys as well can gain fresh hope from a family based treatment for anorexia called the Maudsley Approach.
Different from conventional treatments for eating disorders, this one works on the basic premise of trying to re-feed a malnourished anorexia sufferer.
Conventional therapy is often structured to preserve independence, while offering therapy and counseling, possibly in a residential setting. The treatment is aimed at getting the sufferer to decide to resume eating on their own.
On the other hand, the Maudsley approach the family takes charge and gets the anorexic to start eating making them realize that there is no option but to eat.
When normal weight has been regained and the brain has been restored normalcy with proper nourishment, the family steps back to hand over control over eating once again to the anorexia sufferer.
After this normalcy is restored, this approach revisits traditional therapy in that it seeks to address the psychological problems that caused the disorder in the first place.
The approach is not without its critics, who claim that this approach could actually exacerbate the issue by making the anorexic feel their issues of control even more acutely. Also they question the ability of regular parents to get their child to eat.