Abnormal - evaluate treatments of anorexia Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Abnormal - evaluate treatments of anorexia Deck (10):


- usually uses medications to alter activity of neurotransmitters in the brain
- assumes that biological changes can improve psychological conditions
- assumes that the cause of the problem is biological and therefore the solution should also be biological


uses of biomedical treatment

- antidepressant drugs are frequently used to treat anorexia and depression
- anorexia because eating disorder patients frequently suffer comorbidity (multiple disorders), often with depression


anorexia-specific biomedical treatment

- before focusing on medication, weight gains are prioritized -- this involves attaching the patient to a drip
- after this the patient needs to be encouraged to eat normally again -- this can be achieved through the use of individual therapies
- sometimes suggested that anorexia is a form of anxiety disorder or depression, and anorexia generally occurs along with other disorders (comorbidity)
- so the use of medication help prevent the kind of emotional state that precedes relapses


individual therapy: therapy!

Bowers (2002):
- recommends CBT to treat anorexia
- recognizes that neither a physician, a psychotherapist nor a dietician can deal with an anorexia patient alone
- CBT can help the individual to understand that their thought processes and belief systems are causing problems, and to help change them
- CBT aims to change negative self-statements like, (e.g. "I’ll never be thin enough") and basic assumptions that are generally fixed and resistant to change (e.g. high personal expectations)
- this involves changing cognitive schemata, so it's essential to spend time talking with the patient to establish what the content of these schemata are

ideally, the patient should: identify their thoughts about these areas → be challenged to produce evidence to support their ideas → be encouraged to come up with alternatives to negative but persistent thoughts


evaluation of CBT for anorexia

- generally has good outcomes
- relapse is relatively unusual
- attempts to address the thoughts at the core of the problem (thus nipping it in the bud)


individual therapy: behavioural conditioning

certain target behaviours are reinforced with rewards (personalized to the patient)


individual therapy: criticism of behavioural conditioning

- more likely for relapse to occur
- as the core problems behind the disorder were not addressed
- necessary for the patient to have internalized the reward process, or have strong support from family or friends, as the reward system is likely to be neglected


individual therapy: family therapy

- family is trained to provide support to the sufferer
- allows the entire family to benefit from therapy to change their communication styles
- some models of causation propose that mother-daughter interactions contribute to development of the disorder
- so learning more effective ways to communicate is beneficial for many family members


group therapy

- very common form of treatment
- helps inpatients to get better, and helps outpatients by preventing relapse
- more cost-effective than individual therapy
- offers the opportunity for group members to interact with others who are at different stages in dealing with the disorder
- these interactions provide hope for those in the early stages, and confirmation of progress + increased self esteem for those who are successful


criticism of group therapy

Polivy (1981):
- being in a group of other anorexic patients may lead to the development of a new identity based on group membership
- thus the patient may require individual therapy to help carve out an independent identity
- members of the group may teach each other (not necessarily intentionally) strategies to avoid weight gain or hide weight loss

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