Identifying the cause may aid anorexia

Clinical psychologist Dr Peta Stapleton told the Australian Psychological Society’s Health Psychology conference in Cairns last month that for too long the focus has been on anorexia patients gaining weight and not on managing the underlying causes that will aid recovery.

She says patients with anorexia need to pass through five stages to recover — denial; resignation; ongoing battle, where people live in chaos and fear; apparent resolution or recovery, where people still harbour considerable uneasiness and self-doubt; and healing or transformation.

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