The treatment of Anorexia Nervosa in adult women: Time to consider a novel approach?
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Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a life-threatening illness, with a suicide rate that is 200 times that of the general population, associated with high levels of disability, psychological and physical comorbidity. It has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. AN in adulthood is particularly resistant to treatment, and few therapeutic approaches have proven effectiveness. It is critical that awareness is brought to this lack, and that research continues to expand and improve upon existing approaches. This thesis has two main purposes: (1) to contribute to the conversation surrounding the difficulties in treating Anorexia Nervosa in adult populations by providing a critical analysis of four outpatient therapeutic approaches to treating adulthood Anorexia Nervosa, and (2) to address the flaws in treatment approaches that focus too heavily on weight restoration and food related concerns, and to highlight the benefits of utilizing an approach that does not place these issues at the core of treatment. This manuscript-style thesis begins by presenting an introduction to AN including important statistics on the illness. The introductory chapter orients the reader to the purpose and significance of this thesis, describes how the research was conducted, provides a definition of key terms, outlines scope and limitations, and situates the author, including stated biases. Following this, four treatment approaches for adulthood AN are discussed: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT-E), the Maudsley Model of Anorexia Nervosa Treatment for Adults (MANTRA), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). The thesis concludes with a discussion, personal reflections, limitations, and suggestions for future research.