Treating Adolescents with Eating Disorders

Authored by: Ivan Eisler , Daniel Le Grange , James Lock

Handbook of family therapy

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415518017
eBook ISBN: 9780203123584
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203123584-20

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Abstract

Anorexia nervosa (AN) was first clinically described in the late 1600s (Morton, 1694) and appeared as a distinct psychiatric syndrome at the end of the 19th century (Gull, 1874; Lasegue, 1883). While AN, like most severe psychiatric disorders, was initially treated mostly in hospital settings, many of the early authors where interested in the family context of the disorder, albeit primarily because they believed that families either caused the disorder or impeded treatment. These authors generally recommended isolating the patient from the family as a key therapeutic intervention (Gull, 1874; Laseque 1883), a practice that continues to be recommended by some to this day (Jeammet & Chabert, 1998; Godart et al., 2004). The negative view of the family, being generally seen as intrusive, overprotective, and overcontrolling, was reinforced by psychodynamic conceptualizations postulating a disturbance of the mother–child relationship leading to high levels of compliance, failure to develop autonomy, and a pervasive sense of ineffectiveness (Bruch, 1973; Thomä, 1977; Waller, Kaufman, & Deutch, 1940).

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