January 10th, 2018
Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa
Treatment of AN requires a comprehensive approach that consists of individual, family and group therapy with severe cases requiring hospitalization (Sim et al., 2010; Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 732; Guarda, 2008). The treatment could involve behavioral, interpersonal and cognitive therapies and, at times, medication. In-patient programs provide the structure that ensures cooperation in severe cases, for instance, when the patient’s weight is too low – e.g. below 20% of their expected normal weight (Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 733; Guarda, 2008). When hospitalized, patients embark on a treatment program that incorporates behavioral management approaches characterized by positive reinforcers (e.g. praising the patient for doing what is expected) and negative reinforcers such as restricting the patient from engaging in purging behavior (Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 733; Guarda, 2008. Management generally includes daily weighing of patients and recording of fluid intake and urine output; where vomiting occurs, monitoring serum electrolyte levels enables the clinicians to diagnose any cases of hypokalemia early enough to institute measures that discourage vomiting (Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 733).
Cognitive and behavioral therapy is a feature of both in-patient and outpatient programs. It involves teaching the patients to “monitor their food intake, their feelings and emotions, their binging and purging behaviors and their problems in interpersonal relationships” (Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 733). Through such monitoring, patients are taught to think through their feeding and interpersonal problems thus reduce their vulnerability to engaging in AN behaviors (Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 733).
Family therapy is also core to treatment programs for AN, especially for adolescent patients. In family therapy, clinicians use the family system to support recovery and “assist parents in regaining appropriate parental control over their child’s eating behavior and weight gain” (Guarda, 2008, p. 116). In adults, studies have shown that cognitive and behavioral therapies offered at the individual level are effective (Guarda, 2008). Go to conclusion here.