Anorexia Nervosa & Bulimia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa (AN): is categorised by:

The restriction of energy intake relative to an individual’s requirements, leading to a significantly low body weight in the context of age, sex, developmental trajectory and health status. Note: Being within the ‘healthy weight’ BMI range does not exclude someone from having Anorexia Nervosa.

Undue influence of body shape and weight on self-evaluation, disturbance of body image, an intense fear of gaining weight, lack of recognition of the seriousness of the illness and/or behaviours that interfere with weight gain.

Bulimia Nervosa (BN): is categorised by:

Binge eating (eating a large amount of food in a relatively short period of time with a concomitant sense of loss of control) with purging/compensatory behaviour (e.g. self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic abuse, insulin misuse, excessive exercise, diet pills) once a week or more for at least 3 months.

Disturbance of body image, an intense fear of gaining weight and lack of recognition of the seriousness of the illness may also be present.

Why do we involve parents and why do we focus on eating and weight in treatment?

Kayla’s story of recovery 

Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa

In children

Family-based therapy (FBT) has been demonstrated to be the most effective treatment for Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa in children and adolescents.

This approach actively involves parents in their child’s recovery. It supports parents to help their child restore weight and relearn healthy eating behaviours.

On average, treatment is conducted within 15-20 treatment sessions over a period of approximately 12 months.

In adults

According the the treatment guidelines, treatment for Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa in adults should, 

  • involve family and/or significant others (unless there are contraindications or the individual is opposed)
  • be recovery orientated
  • occur in the least restrictive treatment context (outpatient, rather in patient, if possible)
  • take a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach
  • utilise evidence-based therapies 

The team at CFIH work in a collaborative manner both within CFIH and with those practitioners involved in your care (I.e., psychiatrist, general practitioner) external to CFIH.

We aim to monitor you closely to ensure the need for hospitalisation is minimised and seek to involve your loved ones (where appropriate) to provide support between sessions.

Finally, we draw upon gold-started, evidence based approaches in your treatment including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – Enhanced (CBT-E) and the Maudsley model of anorexia nervosa treatment for adults (MANTRA).

As per treatment guidelines, therapy will firstly seek to develop a thorough understanding of your concerns as well as treatment goals in collaboration with yourself.

Your medical stabilisation will then be the first priority of treatment. Once medically stabilised, treatment will seek to reverse of the cognitive effects of starvation so you are able to effectively engage in therapy before moving to structured psychological treatment which addresses your eating disorder more broadly. 

Why we focus on medical stabilisation and reversing starvation first