Eating disorder: anorexia nervosa

Justina Ragauskaitė1

1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Academy of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania


        Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious eating disorder commonly found in early adolescence. It is characterized by severe weight loss, often resulting from a combination of food restriction and high levels of exercise. The behavior of patients with anorexia nervosa is accompanied by obsessive concerns and fears about weight gain, appearance, and food. This combination of behavioral and psychological characteristics leads to a variety of emotional, behavioral, social, and family relationships disorders. AN is associated with one of the highest mortality rates of all mental illnesses. Death indicates a physiological effect of malnutrition, especially with cardiovascular arrhythmias. Nevertheless, the psychological damage is also significant and results in a large proportion of patients dying from suicide. Anorexia nervosa is a disorder that can affect individuals of any age, gender, sexual orientation, race, and ethnicity, but is common in adolescent girls and young women. Diagnosis includes interviews with patients according to standardized questionnaires, as well as clinical examination of the patient, considering the assessment, the patient’s internal organ function, complications. Treatment is complex, which includes psychotherapeutic and pharmacological treatment. In psychotherapy, family-based psychotherapy receives the most data on effective treatment. Treatment options and knowledge of pharmacological preparations continue to expand, but there is no drug which fully therapeutic. Recovery remains slow and inaccessible to many. In this article we will discuss the diagnosis and treatment of anorexia nervosa.

Keywords: anorexia nervosa, treatment, psychotherapy.