Anorexia Nervosa Therapy

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Therapy Sample Essay


In modern society, anorexia nervosa became the disease of the century. Especially it spreads among young girls, who have an unstable juvenile period and go through the process of maturation. The biggest problem with anorexia nervosa is that it cannot be easily identified on the first stages of illness. Parents understand that something is wrong when the process has already started, and it is harder to pull the patient through. To understand how to cure Judy Jones, first of all, there is a need to understand the origin of anorexia nervosa and the main therapies that psychologists use while working with similar problematic issues.

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Anorexia nervosa definition

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder. It causes an individual to obsess about the weight and food value in everyday life. A person with this eating disorder tries to gain the weight that is lower than normal for his or ger age and height personal characteristics. In order to achieve a desirable result, an individual can excessively exercise and restrict the amount of food (Freeman, 2009).

Anorexia nervosa is not about the food, as society considers it. Despite the fact that ‘anorexia’ as a medical term means ‘lack of appetite’, a person with this illness struggles not because of the appetite loss. It is an unhealthy way of tries in order to cope with some inner problems on the mental level. Emotional problems create the desire to become better, and here appears substitution of terms. An individual starts to think that after the loss of weight all the problems will also go away. Thin figure means beauty and overall happiness for such people. They never think about consequences of such a diet. Anorexia causes severe complications in the major organ systems together with mental disorders (Freeman, 2009).

There are many therapies that doctors use when treating anorexia nervosa. It is notable that this disease requires the help not only of nutritionists, but also of psychologists. The treatment must be complex, and the patient needs support in all stages of it. Experiential therapy helps to make unconscious things conscious. Structural family therapy addresses the problems within the family circle and discovers family relations. Cognitive behavioral therapy is an approach that works with dysfunctional emotions and cognitive processes in the mind of the patient. Usually, this therapy works with individuals who show anxiety and depression in their behavior. Behavioral therapy deals with the main principles of behaviorism. The main fact about this therapy is that actions play the major role in it, unlike the above-mentioned theories. The goal of behavioral therapy is to teach the patient to deal with his or her inner world.

The Judy Jones’s story

In case with Judy Jones, the treatment should be the cognitive behavioral therapy. Judy is 14 years old, and her problem started at 13. That is the period when girls start turning into women. These changes cause many problems for an individual, but they seldom appear to be serious. Teenage girls feel everything on the maximum, they want to have everything and simultaneously. When it comes about love and beauty, they still do not have an understanding that their body will be changing and they will form a natural woman. In the modern globalized world people have free access to all imaginable information and it shapes the personality. Judy as a teenager also could have suffered because of lack of self-identity. Looking at the skinny models she also could have wanted to be like them. She was not fat at all when she started the diet but teenagers have never been tolerant. The origin of Judy’s disease can lay in sharp word of a friend or classmate that influences the thoughts of the girl and she suffers from anorexia.

Also, Judy can suffer anorexia because she tries to be too idealistic and shape herself into the ideal person. Many girls with anorexia nervosa claim that they felt free and invincible when they were slim. When they conquer their hunger, they start feeling like they can conquer the whole world and it will be as easy as with their appetite. Anxiety is a key symptom of anorexia that requires cultural-behavioral theory treatment. When a person tries to be ideal, to be the best student, the best daughter, and the best girlfriend, then anorexia has the best background.

The process of curing the disease is long and hard. The patient needs support of the family and therapist at this stage because it is impossible to fight anorexia alone. The cognitive-behavioral therapy bases on the face-to-face sessions with the patient. Every meeting lasts for an hour and takes place every week until the patient is ready to stop them. During this time psychologists make contact with the patients and gain their trust (Gladding, 2010).

The process of helping the patient bases on three stages. On the first stage, the psychologist establishes contact with the patient. When there are mutual understandings and trust, Judy will be able to tell the doctor what caused anorexia. Then the doctor will establish some goals for her, how she can fight the problem and get back to normal life. This stage will have activities during the therapy, and also, Judy will have to do special homework. So, she will be fully involved in the process and will understand that she is a part of it. Then, on the second stage of treatment, a cognitive part comes. On this stage the therapist addresses the relationship problems, issues of self-identity, emotion regulation, and introduces the cognitive restricting techniques. The psychologist will work with Judy on developing a new perspective of life and new goals. The third stage is the stage of maintenance. Judy will learn more about herself. The therapist will help her to get back to normal life (Gladding, 2010).

During the process of cognitive-behavioral therapy, the patient learns everything about the illness, and symptoms of illness. It means that an individual has to know everything about the current problem. Using these data, the patient will overcome the disease, become stronger than the illness. Also, Judy will learn how to change the way of thinking about anorexia, and it will have no power over her anymore.

It is important for Judy to understand the importance of having meals. She will have to keep a diary, where she will be writing about all her meals, her attitude to them, even the taste of food. That will bring her back to the taste of good meals, and her appetite will come back.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to change the attitude of the patient to the food, to his or her body and personality (Gladding, 2010). It is vital to find out what caused Judy to stop eating, whether she was punishing herself for something or was trying to build the ideal body and went too far. The therapist will have to identify dysfunctional thoughts of Judy’s mind.

In the recovery process, the role of cognitive-behavioral therapy is significant. It has personalized goals and special attitude of the patient. It does not mainly focus on the problems of past; it focuses on happy and healthy future.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy was named one of the gold standards for anorexia nervosa treatment. One of its strong sides is that this therapy has limits in time. The patient receives special goals and has to reach them. When the patient has some special features of character, such as a desire to be successful in every action, this treatment can be useful (Gladding, 2010).

Still, cognitive-behavioral therapy may also be difficult for implementation in case Judy refuses to take her treatment. In this case, the therapist will propose the structural family therapy. When the whole family is united together in the treatment, Judy will have her space and time. So, she will build the step-by-step trust with the psychologists. Structural family therapy will form a background for cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is the main one (Gladding, 2010).

Anorexia nervosa is a serious disease that needs long therapy, sometimes a lifelong one. Judy is a young girl, so with the proper help of specialists and family support she can fully overcome anorexia. Statistics prove that young women get through anorexia nervosa better than older women (Freeman, 2009).

Path for a healthy future is long and very challenging, but in case with Judy Jones, she can overcome her disease soon. She is young, she has her parents close to her, and they care about her.

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Anorexia nervosa remains one of the most wide-spreading diseases on the globe. Girls consider skinny body to be fashionable and beautiful, so they put themselves through the struggle of anorexia. Until there will be propaganda of skinny body through the mass media, Judy Jones will never be the only person with this problem. Anorexia nervosa is a classic example of illness when behavior initially guides the disorder. So, it is very important to every family to pay more attention to the children in order to prevent such problems in future or to find them out on the early stage of disease. Still, love and support are the best medicines invented. Parents all over the world have to keep it in mind.