People with very severe eating disorders can sometimes be fed, via a tube, through their nose. This is only recommended as a treatment of last resort and is, hardly surprisingly, very unpopular with those who receive it. Meal-support therapy is often used to help people with anorexia. Meals and snacks are given under the supervision of trained staff members who show empathy and understanding while setting firm limits about what they must consume. Researchers at McMaster University and the University of Western Ontario reviewed the medical records of 21 adolescents who had been treated for anorexia. They found that the incidence of nasogastric feeding was substantially reduced after the implementation of meal-support therapy. However, meal-support was found to produce no difference in length of stay, change in weight or readmission rates. The nasogastric feeding was associated with a number of problems including nausea, nose bleeds, anxiety, self-harm and throat pain.
Couturier, Jennifer, Mahmood, Adeel - Meal support therapy reduces the use of nasogastric feeding for adolescents with anorexia nervose Eating Disorder July-September 2009, 17(4), 327-332