- Difficulty coping with development and maturation
- Inability to achieve unreasonable personal goals
- Alexithymia (channeling uncomfortable feelings into behaviors such as self-starvation)
- Distorted views of one’s body weight and shape for age
- Negative feelings about self and body
- Self-loathing (impulsive or obsessive)
- Intense fear of gaining or not being able to lose weight
Common Expected Outcomes
- Patient identifies positive thoughts and feelings regarding body and self.
- Patient identifies a direct means of coping with problems.
- Body Image
- Self-Awareness Enhancement
- Body Image Enhancement
- Explore the patient’s understanding of his or her physical body, especially as it relates to maturation. Assess to what degree the patient’s negative body image and negative self-concept are related to overwhelming anxiety. Patients with anorexia have a distorted body image.
- Assess to what degree culture, religion, race, and gender influence the patient’s negative views of self. Cultural and social norms about body size and shape may influence the patient’s thinking and feelings about his or her body image.
- Determine the family or patient’s perceptions regarding psychological and physical changes brought about by anorexia. These data need to be compared to the patient’s thinking prior to the onset of anorexia.
- Obtain the patient’s assessment of personal strengths and weaknesses. Patients learn they have the ability to handle day-to-day stress.
- Assess the patient’s ability to identify “here and now” emotional states and precipitating events that trigger negative behaviors. The patient may not be aware of the relationship between feelings and eating behaviors.
- Encourage reexamination of positive and negative self-perceptions. The patient needs to develop a realistic understanding of his or her body image.
- Encourage the patient to identify the differences between “real people” and celebrities. Patients often use media reports of celebrities as a guide for their eating behaviors.
- Encourage recognition, expression, and acceptance of unpleasant feelings. Patients with anorexia have a need for control in multiple areas of their lives. Mastery over food may have become a method for reducing tensions.
- Help the patient develop a realistic, acceptable perception of body image and food. Patients must understand the complex health problems associated with anorexia.
- Refer the patient to individual counseling and a support group for eating disorders. Multiple approaches are needed to achieve long-term changes in behavior. Groups that come together for mutual support and guidance can provide long-term assistance.