Application of cognitive-behavioral therapy in anorexia nervosa

Written by: Dr. Antonio Rodrigo Parra
Published: | Updated: 05/05/2020
Edited by: Top Doctors®

The following is a case report in which cognitive-behavioral therapy is used in a patient with anorexia nervosa.


Background and Case Evaluation

A 19-year-old woman who attends the consultation motivated by her obsession with food and her physical appearance. In turn, she is afraid that her parents will not understand her and may label her worries as nonsense .

The first steps to be followed by the specialist is to organize a first clinical interview together with the patient and their parents, and subsequently an individual interview with the patient, and its symptomatology compatible with Anorexia Nervosa.


Objectives of the treatment of anorexia nervosa with cognitive-behavioral therapy

The objectives of the treatment are as follows: 

  • Facilitate cognitive and behavioral resources to lower / eliminate binge eating and self-injurious behavior. 
  • Facilitate recognition of your emotional world and your physical and psychological needs to profile your identity, that is, to accept your physical appearance. 
  • Teach him to defend the right to imperfection, encouraging his flexibility and accepting mistakes as a further learning tool. 
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps in cases of anorexia or bulimia nervosa 

Techniques used during the treatment of anorexia nervosa through cognitive-behavioral therapy

The techniques used are as follows: 

  • Functional analysis of their behavior 
  • Bioremediations of Binge Eating, Vomiting and Related Circumstances 
  • Troubleshooting Techniques 
  • Restructuring and balance of cognitions 
  • Exposure and response prevention 
  • Clarification of values


Treatment of anorexia nervosa through cognitive-behavioral therapy

The treatment has been done in coordination with your primary care physician, a nutritionist and a psychiatrist. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been used to manage pathological eating behaviors and to change the cognitive aspects involved in them.

Individualized psychotherapy has been divided into a total of 16 sessions, with a dozen intervention sessions and four follow-up sessions.


Results and conclusions of the clinical case of anorexia nervosa with cognitive-behavioral therapy

The evolution of the case has been favorable, since the patient has managed to maintain its weight at a normal level. In turn, he has stopped worrying excessively about weight, accepting his body as it is, and improving his confidence and self-esteem.

Coordination with professionals in other disciplines, such as physicians, nutritionists and psychiatrists, parental involvement, and the application of cognitive-behavioral therapy in combination with the values ​​clarification strategy has proven to be very effective Both for the acquisition and maintenance of adequate eating habits, as well as for the assertiveness and the increase of their self-esteem.

For more information, consult a psychologist .

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dr. Antonio Rodrigo Parra

Dr. Rodrigo Parra is a renowned specialist in Clinical Psychology with an important career that currently runs the reference center PsicoSalud Almeria. His exhaustive training has a Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Granada and a specialization in Clinical Psychology. During his long professional career as a clinical psychologist in the Andalusian Health Service, he has combined clinical practice in several prestigious centers and associations for social purposes such as Caritas Diocesana, Cruz Roja or the Progreso y Salud Foundation.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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