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Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa: Treatments and their Effectiveness

Treatments for Eating Disorders

Weight Restoration

  • For severe anorexics – they have to be hospitalised
  • Calories pumped into the patient, under supervision
  • Introduction to eating meals

Changing Cognitions (Cognitive Therapy)

  • Examining and replacing problematic thoughts. Replacing faulty ideas.
  • Maintaining new thoughts; written plans

Evaluation (Cognitive Therapy)

  • Successful for long-term
  • Better than drug therapy
  • Involves direct challenge of patient’s thought processes.
  • Focuses on the individual and ignores the environment

Behavioural Treatment

  • Learning new way of responding to food
  • Rewards given when mean has been eaten
  • If patient does not comply, privileges are taken away

Evaluation (Behavioural Treatment)

  • Understood by staff, family. The therapy is also straightforward to carry out
  • Degrading for patients to have privileges taken away
  • difficult to main outside of the the hospital ward.

Effectiveness of Treatments

  • Recovery in six/seven years
  • Weight restoration: Highly effective treatment for anorexia nervosa. It prevents physical symptoms of starvation
  • Minuchin recommended that the family should also go into therapy
  • Antidepressants have some success with bulimia, a few recover and also works well with cognitive and behavioural therapy.
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