Table of contents:
- Treating anorexia, like all other eating disorders, is challenging. Effective treatment addresses underlying emotional and mental health problems. These problems often go back to childhood, to a person's self-awareness and self-esteem
- Psychotherapy for anorexia
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Family therapy
Video: Anorexia Treatment - The Quality Of Life
Treating anorexia, like all other eating disorders, is challenging. Effective treatment addresses underlying emotional and mental health problems. These problems often go back to childhood, to a person's self-awareness and self-esteem
Many of the treatment approaches described below aim to help a person with anorexia understand how their own self-image affects their eating behavior.
Changing the perception of your image is the basis of work, and this is what a person with anorexia should focus on. Inadequate self-esteem can be so destructive that even an absolutely emaciated person still believes that they are overweight
Some people with anorexia find themselves in what psychologists call "denial." That is, they deny that there is a problem, even if their body weight is dangerously low. They may point to supermodels or other celebrities as proof that there is no problem, and they just want to "look that slim."
Thus, helping patients to realize that they have a serious mental health problem that needs professional treatment can be part of the therapy for anorexia.
While there are many different treatments available, virtually all of them begin with an appointment with an eating disorder specialist. Typically, this person is a psychologist with extensive experience and training in helping patients with anorexia.
Physical examination and physical examination is also the initial part of standard treatment for anorexia, to identify and begin to address the physiological problems that may accompany psychological instability.
Psychotherapy for anorexia
Psychotherapy is the most common treatment for anorexia, based on extensive research. The process can be lengthy and require significant financial investments, especially if you are experiencing other problems (sexual abuse, depression, substance use, relationship problems).
Psychotherapy can be very helpful in treating not only your eating disorder, but your overall emotional health as well. But the focus of psychotherapy will still be on addressing the underlying emotional and cognitive disruptions that have already led to the eating disorder.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
CBT is an effective treatment for people with anorexia. Based on decades of research and evidence-based approach, CBT allows the patient to quickly and accurately understand how their mindset, negative attitudes and distorted perceptions of themselves affect eating and behavioral habits.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the gold standard treatment for anorexia.
CBT focuses on identifying and modifying dysfunctional thinking patterns, attitudes and beliefs that can cause and maintain unhealthy self-restriction in a person's diet.
Researcher Chris Fairburn in the early 1980s developed a specific model of cognitive behavioral therapy for the treatment of anorexia. He used the traditional foundations of CBT - helping a person sort out, define and change their irrational thoughts (this is the “cognitive” part of the job) and take real steps towards change through specific behavioral interventions (for example, adopting the idea of healthy eating as a goal, reward system, etc.).).
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is time limited, which means that a person with anorexia will receive treatment for a specific period of time and with specific goals. Like all psychotherapy, it can be carried out both on an outpatient basis (once a week) and on an inpatient basis. It is good if inpatient treatment takes place in special centers that provide not only professional care, but also comfortable conditions, because food is an important part of our life and its quality.
According to a 2008 article published in the US National Information Center, “Preliminary research evidence suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy in adults reduces the risk of relapse after weight regain. For adolescents, the effectiveness of family therapy has been confirmed, which is aimed at parental control of adherence to healthy eating patterns.
“Among the patients, at least half no longer had anorexia nervosa on follow-up [after cognitive behavioral therapy], but many still had other eating disorders; the mortality rate among sufferers of anorexia nervosa is significantly higher than the population average."
“Factors associated with recovery or improvement are lower levels of depression and compulsive behavior. Factors correlating with mortality include co-morbidity with alcohol and substance use.”
Family therapy helps the person with anorexia see and understand the (most often dysfunctional) role that they play within the family and how their eating behavior supports that role.
Family therapy is usually done with the anorexic person and their family. However, in some cases, multiple appointments can be held without patient involvement. This can help families understand the role they play in supporting disordered eating and suggest ways the family can help the person with anorexia recognize the problem and seek treatment.
The Maudsley Method is a specific form of family therapy in which parents take responsibility for feeding their anorexic teen to help him gain weight and improve his eating habits. Research has shown its effectiveness in treating adolescents and especially children before the eating disorder becomes chronic.