CBT Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa


CBTTreatment of Anorexia Nervosa

CBTTreatment of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexianervosa is a serious eating disorder affecting both men and women ofall ages. However, it is more prevalent in adolescent girls and youngwomen (American Psychiatric Association [APA], n.d). It is a seriouscondition that not only affects a person’s health but can also belife threatening. There are two main types: the restrictive andpurging types. The Restrictive type involves restricting calorieswhile the purging type involves vomiting by use of diuretics andlaxatives. Its main characteristics are:

  • Intense fear of gaining weight

  • Distorted body image

  • Refusal to maintain a healthy body weight (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2013).

Cognitiveand behavioral factors

Cognitivefactors: Negative body image, over emphasis on shape and weight,perfectionism, and negative self-worth based on weight (AmericanPsychiatric Association, 2013)

Behavioralfactors:Vomiting (purging behaviors), self-harm, restriction, and dietaryrestraint

Althoughanorexia nervosa is a serious medical condition, there are CBT basedinterventions to deal with it (American Psychiatric Association,2013).



Counselingis a crucial therapy for treating anorexia. It involves helping thepatient to identify the negative thoughts they have concerning shapeand weight and helping the patient to develop healthier beliefs. Italso teaches the patient how to deal with stress, relationshipproblems, and difficult emotions in a healthy instead of aself-destructive way. Patients have to understand the need ofmaintaining a healthy body weight as well as informing them on how togo around it (Waller, Stringer, &amp Meyer, 2011).


Nutritionaltreatment involves teaching patients the best foods to take in orderto maintain a healthy body. In this case, dieticians help patients toselect and follow meal plans with enough calories and nutrients thatwill help patients maintain a healthy and normal weight. In some casethis may be complemented with medical treatment and or counselingsessions (Waller, Stringer, &amp Meyer, 2011).


AmericanPsychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnosticand statistical manual of mental disorders(5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Americanpsychiatric association (n.d). DSM-5Implementation and Support.Retrieved fromhttp://www.dsm5.org/Documents/Eating%20Disorders%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

Waller,G., Stringer, H., &amp Meyer, C. (2011). What cognitive behavioraltechniques do therapists report using when delivering cognitivebehavioral therapy for the eating disorders? Journalof Consulting and Clinical Psychology,80(1), 171–175.