Hospital Treatments Really Don't Help Anorexics

You may recall a study I posted early in the new year about the devastating effects of anorexia and how women process information in a way that could put them at higher risk. Although treatments make a physical impact on women hospitalized for anorexia, new research has found as many as 70 percent of patients will relapse.

What's more: Even after three months of treatment, women continued to eat far smaller meals than those who never succumbed to anorexia.

Scientists studied behaviors associated with eating by comparing how much of a strawberry yogurt shake 12 anorexic patients would consume before and after about 90 days of treatment versus an equal number of normal patients. To make it interesting, the drink was served in a bucket-sized container so patients couldn't tell what or how much they were drinking.

Before treatment, anorexic patients drank an average 104 grams. After treatment, they consumed 178 grams, certainly a bit better than before, but far below the control group who ate 490 grams on average. Moreover, anorexic patients found the study difficult because they didn't know what they were eating or how many calories the yogurt contained.

A study like this one ought to hammer home to you how important it is to address the underlying emotional issues associated with anorexia. One of the most effective tools I've used in my practice for the past five years for doing that is the Emotional Freedom Technique.

Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 82, No. 2, August 2005: 296-301

MSNBC September 5, 2005

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