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Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders

Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Eating Disorders
Fairburn et al. argue that an extreme need to control eating is a central feature of
Anorexia nervosa, and that in Western societies a tendency to judge self worth in terms of
shape and weight is superimposed on this need for self control, (1999).The DSM IV
diagnostic criteria for AN includes the refusal or inabilityto maintain body weight over a
minimum normal weight for age and height, e.g. weight loss leading to maintenance of
body weight 15 percent below that expected.Intense fear of gaining weight or becoming
fat even though underweight is also a characteristic seen in AN patients.The DSM IV
also states that in females, absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles when
otherwise expected to occur is a diagnostic criteria as well.
Use of cognitive behavioral therapy is often the most productive, (Hoffman,
1993).Cognitive behavior therapists focus on changing eating behaviors usually by
rewarding or modeling wanted behavior.These therapists also help patients work to
change the distorted and rigid thinking patterns associated with eating disorders,
(Hoffman, 1993).The American Institute for Cognitive Therapy believes that by
combining cognitive, behavioral, and nutritional interventions, many people with eating
disorders may be helped significantly in gaining greater control over eating and in
reducing their depression and anxiety.Kleifield et al. propose that the rationale for
treatments are based on two primary assumptions about the anorectic condition: a) that
An develops as a way of coping with life stresses, and b) AN develops into a self-
sustaining food phobia.CBT techniques are therefore aimed at confronting the patients
fears and avoidance behaviors, identifying the patient's area's of deficient problem
solving skills, particularly in the interpersonal realm, and cultivating …

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