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Treating Anorexia Nervosa

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This essay investigates the literature that is available on anorexia nervosa. It establishes the preferable treatment that would be recommended for anorexia nervosa that is not due to physical causes. In doing this, the paper draws from similar cases that have been handled in the past with considerable success. According to literature, anorexia nervosa is a kind of eating disorder that is basically characterized by fear-driven restriction against eating. Usually, this fear comes from the obsession with slimness or negative opinion about gaining weight. This often develops during adolescence when teenagers have the false feeling that looking thin and skinny is more fashionable. However, the opposite is always true as they soon lose their beautiful looks because of anorexia nervosa (Hockenbury and Sandra 2008).

The treatment of the eating disorder can take many angles depending on the nature of the diagnosis. These may include dietary treatments, medication, alternative and popularly therapy. Generally, therapy has apparently become popular because it addresses the root causes of the disorder. For instance, it acknowledges that the fundamental fault is in one’s self-perception and seeks to change it. This is quite different from medication or the use of alternative medicine that target a person’s appetite without showing them why they have to eat. Indeed, the other methods have remained quite unpopular due to the fact that people soon go back into their food withdrawal culture after the drugs are withdrawn. Thus, the long periods of drug therapy are lost as one cannot resist the desire to go back the original culture of restricting oneself on food. Although the cost and the time of undergoing therapy for anorexia nervosa is quite high, it is worth it because it completely erodes the culture of food restrictions (Friedman 1984).

For the case of Judy, I would ideally pick on cognitive behavioral therapy as the best treatment for her eating disorder. For instance, I would focus on dismantling the deceitful belief that looking thin and skinny is more fashionable. Although this may not be easy considering that it is always a popular thing with teenagers, I may have to take her through basic diet lessons as well as explain to her how the body works. Particularly, the vulnerability to pathogens and other forms of infections when one is not under adequate diet will form the basis of sessions with her. This is because it is never hard to understand that the body’s defense system requires food and good nutrition to function properly. If this is denied, the outright result will be increased susceptibility to minor infections that a functional immune system should be able to contain. When these several minor infections accumulate, the generally weaken the body and the aesthetic beauty diminishes. And so, the search for beauty turns around to become an endless search for bad looks (Gladding 2011).

The other aspect of cognitive behavioral therapy involves the use of techniques with a view to normalizing the eating pattern so as to make weight gain a possibility. Ideally, the techniques that are normally used include eating diary that basically stipulate when one is supposed to eat and whet quantity he or she is supposed to eat. Basically, this should not be the fundamental technique of treating anorexia nervosa, but a supplement to the idea of behavioral change. For instance, if one adapts to the new pattern of eating without questioning why he or she had to do it, there are chances that he or she could elapse back into the normal pattern of eating restrictions. Thus, it would not have served any purpose to have put them on the meal plan in the first place. On the other hand, there is also the use of meal plans that arranges the sequence with which one should eat different types of foods. For instance, the body functions best when there is a perfect balance between carbohydrates, proteins, fats and other nutrients. A diet plan would take this into account and stipulate what quantities of each food to be eaten at any given time to ensure that the effects of anorexia nervosa are reversed. Indeed, it would ideally help one to regain the normal shape and size of the body before fundamental flaws appear permanently in the body (Hockenbury and Sandra 2008).

In addition, there is the popular technique that usually applies in cognitive behavioral therapy that involves the restructuring of one’s behavior so as to comply with the demands of the treatment of the disorder. For instance, ones behavior towards food can be considerably altered without necessarily telling them that it is a method of treatment against anorexia nervosa. This best applies to children who may not really understand why they need to eat healthy. And so, therapy should focus on the general pattern of eating rather than on correcting the effects of anorexia nervosa. Indeed, this techniques works best in children who are just approaching adolescent’s asset cushions them against peer pressure into self restrictions on food. For example, a little child who grows up loving food and enjoying all types of food would be hard to influence to practice self restrictions on food. This may go on for a long time till they are old enough o understands why they need to eat healthy. Basically, I would combine these three techniques for Judy’s case in order to achieve immediate as well as long term effects on her beliefs about food. For instance, I would start by reconstructing her behavior to love and enjoy food so as to help her eat and gain weight. Due to the fact that this may not be effective in the long run, I would combine it with attitudinal change concerning beauty and fashionable weights. This is because the first is relatively easier to understand and thus, easier to embrace. Nonetheless, I would not hesitate to put her on meal plans, food diaries and weight gain strategies as they would significantly help her to adjust her life into a better eating habit. This combination would certainly work out in treating Judy’s eating disorder (Gladding 2011).

Conventionally, the technique that targets the change of social perceptions with regards to beauty and being presentable is the most preferred. According to the study done by Care-Partners Medical Associates, a great majority of therapist prefer to use this technique in treating anorexia nervosa. This decision is usually informed by the fact that people who find themselves with this disorder are usually influenced by the perception that being skinny is more fashionable. In ideal treatment, the best results are obtained when treatment targets the cause of the disease. This is why therapists usually focus on changing the general perceptions on food so as to ensure that they effectively treat their patients. Besides, those who do slimming for other reasons are influenced at a later date to restrict on their foods. Thus, informing them early enough serves to prepare them for the social challenge. That is why therapist prefers to treat the cause of disease rather than focus on the symptoms (Friedman 1984).

In conclusion, cognitive behavioral therapy has been proved to be the best treatment against anorexia nervosa. However, it should be administered in combination with other techniques that include changing ones perceptions about food in general or using dietary techniques to normalize their eating behavior.

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