Nursing Interventions for Anorexia Nervosa

Nursing Care Plan for Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that makes people lose more weight than is considered healthy for their age and height.

A person with Anorexia Nervosa has not made a ‘lifestyle choice’, they are actually very unwell and need help.

Anorexia nervosa typically involves excessive weight loss and is diagnosed approximately nine times more often in females than in males. Patients with anorexia nervosa often experience dizziness, headaches, drowsiness and a lack of energy.

Anorexia nervosa is a complex eating disorder with three key features:
  • refusal to maintain a healthy body weight
  • an intense fear of gaining weight
  • a distorted body image

Defining Anorexia Nervosa

Weight loss

A person with Anorexia Nervosa will weigh less than 85% of what is expected for his/her age and height and may look emaciated. They could also have lost a considerable amount of weight in a short period of time. The person will be unable to maintain what is considered to be a normal and healthy weight.

A fear of gaining weight

Even when people with Anorexia Nervosa are underweight, starved or malnourished they will still possess an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming ‘fat’.

Disturbed body image

When someone has Anorexia Nervosa they may have an irrational obsession with body image. The person’s self worth can become entirely defined by the way they think they look. A person with Anorexia Nervosa can also develop a distorted view of their body, they may see themselves as fat when in reality they are dangerously underweight.

Risk factors for anorexia include:
  • Being more worried about, or paying more attention to, weight and shape
  • Having an anxiety disorder as a child
  • Having a negative self-image
  • Having eating problems during infancy or early childhood
  • Having certain social or cultural ideas about health and beauty
  • Trying to be perfect or overly focused on rules

Anorexia often begins during the pre-teen or teen years or young adulthood. It is more common in females, but may also be seen in males. The disorder is seen mainly in white women who are high achievers in school and who have a goal-oriented family or personality.

Different programs have been designed to treat anorexia. Sometimes the person can gain weight by:
  • Increasing social activity
  • Reducing the amount of physical activity
  • Using schedules for eating

Nursing Interventions for Anorexia Nervosa

Imbalanced Nutrition Less Than Body Requirements related to ineffective individual coping

  • Clients not impaired in growth and development.
  • Clients in meeting nutritional needs are met.

Interventions :
  1. Involve the family in the plan of dietary supplementation.
  2. Provide information about adequate dietary intake and effects of inadequate food intake on energy levels and psychological wellbeing.
  3. Start the workout plan specifically to help achieve positive behavior.

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