Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Anorexia Nervosa

An examination of anorexia nervosa
By: Alley Dezenhouse, BA ABS
On one end of the epidemic, children, adolescents and adults are going to extreme measures to stay thin; on the other hand, more individuals are becoming obese than previously recorded (Pinel, 2012).  The role of culture (Sigelman & Rider, 2012), and perhaps perception (Pinel, 2012), are huge contributors to the both grossly over consuming and grossly under consuming populations.
In the case of anorexia nervosa, maladaptive behaviours contribute to the desire for extreme thinness, pursued at the expense of physical health and wellness (Pinel, 2012).  Pinel (2012) suggest that 2.5% of Americans suffer from anorexia nervosa; I would suspect that even more suffer from mild and undiagnosed forms of the disorder. From episodes of binge eating, followed by episodes of guilt and self-induced purging (Pinel, 2012) anorexics are often fixated on the idea of thinness and/or the desire to control caloric consumption.
Pinel suggests that there is currently no widely-used and/or most effective treatment for anorexia nervosa (Pinel, 2012); but, the psychological component of the condition requires a holistic treatment. Behaviour modification is often one piece of the puzzle (Sigelman & Rider, 2012); but, the condition cannot be targeted in isolation. Courturier and Isserlin (2012) posit a family-based approach as a suitable intervention for anorexia. Courturier and Isserlin outline the value of an approach that examines patient history and cite the urgency and crisis associated with the clients decline in health, as a factor which contributes to the families tendency to act rashly often going into crisis mode (Courturier & Isserlin, 2012). An important part of this phase of recovery, is the families willingness to take ownership over the ability to challenge the anorexic behaviours; viewing the condition as a pattern of behaviours that can be challenged, rather than a disease that is chronic is an important factor in recovery (Courturier & Isserlin, 2012). 

Isserlin, L., & Couturier, J. (2012). Therapeutic alliance and family-based treatment for
adolescents with anorexia nervosa. Psychotherapy, 49(1), 46-51. doi:10.1037/a0023905
Pinel, J.P. (2012) Basic of biopsychology. Boston: Pearson
Sigelman, C.K. & Rider, E.A. (2012). Life span human development (7e ).
Belmont CA: Wadsworth

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