Anorexia nervosa is a severe condition under psychological disorders that is associated with impaired eating habits. The condition is commonly characterized by an immense fear of attaining weight. Usually, people with this condition perceive having a certain level of weight and body size as something bad. Often, individuals with this condition put a lot of value on how they can manage their weight and shape. Due to these efforts, they end up getting an abnormally low body weight (Murray et al. 2019). This impaired eating behavior is likely to affect their lives significantly. Even though the individual has lost a lot of weight, they continue remain fearful of weight gain. Individuals with this condition usually limit the amount of food they eat (Gibson, Workman & Mehler 2020). This condition causes an individual to improvise ways of losing weight such as exercising excessively. However, anorexia is not necessarily about food. It is an enormously unhealthy way of dealing with emotional problems. It can be quite difficult to overcome the condition and is sometimes viewed as a life threatening condition. This paper provides an in-depth analysis of anorexia including how it’s diagnosed and by whom, treatment and treatment outcomes.
The condition requires a diagnosis from a qualified psychiatrist. This disease is diagnosed in the event where there is an abnormal loss in weight. Some of the critical components that are examined during diagnosis comprise of; presence of intense fear pertaining to weight gain and an examination of a patient’s current weight against the standard weight for a particular sex, age and stage of development. When diagnosis is conducted, the common tests carried out by a psychiatrist or counsellor are psychological evaluation, physical evaluation and lab tests (Murray et al. 2019).
Moreover, it is important to evaluate several other things such as diet, exercise, history, current medications and family history. This examination will help in reaching a conclusion regarding the diagnosis. Laboratory tests can be used to rule out the possibility of physical illness that may have resulted in weight loss. They may include imaging scans, blood tests and an electrocardiogram (Gibson, Workman & Mehler 2020).
The main goals for treatment are to; discourse distorted thinking, restore body weight and help the individual to develop positive behavioral that will last. However, other conditions like stress and substance abuse can cause a relapse. This means that treatment is long-term. Treatment can be administered through; psychotherapy, medication and hospitalization. Psychotherapy involves counselling, which mainly focuses on changing the way the person thinks and behaves. It mainly helps in regaining healthy eating habits. Drug prescription to control anxiety or depression can be used as medication. Hospitalization may be needed if there is malnutrition, or if the individual is insistent on refusing to eat. The individual will need a lot of support from family and friends (Murray et al. 2019).
Treatment for the condition is considered to be more effective if it is individualized. Results show that specialized treatment revealed a significant result. The treatment occurs in phases; after weight restoration, individual behaviors are then addressed. Recent analysis revealed that treatment changed short-term weight outcomes but did not significantly lead to long term recovery. Although weight increased, there was no clear improvement in the individuals’ psychological wellbeing. An increase in body weight has been regularly chosen as the result of randomized controlled trials. Family based treatment is a viable treatment option for children and adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Research shows that individuals gradually recover with interventions yielding small improvements in body weight. Clinical outcomes vary by nature of the assessment variable and timing (Gibson, Workman & Mehler 2020).
Gibson, D., Workman, C., & Mehler, P. S. (2019). Medical Complications of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. The Psychiatric clinics of North America, 42(2), 263-274.
Murray, S. B., Quintana, D. S., Loeb, K. L., Griffiths, S., & Le Grange, D. (2019). Treatment outcomes for anorexia nervosa: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Psychological Medicine, 49(4), 535-544.