JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Current Therapeutic Approaches to Anorexia Nervosa: State of the Art

Alexandra F Muratore, Evelyn Attia
Clinical Therapeutics 2021, 43 (1): 85-94
33293054
Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a devastating psychiatric disorder characterized by extreme restriction of food intake and low body weight, both associated with significant medical and psychological morbidity. The clinical severity of AN has prompted the consideration and study of behavioral and pharmacological treatments in efforts to establish empirically based methods to reduce the burden of the disorder. Among adolescents, family-based treatment is considered a first-line behavioral treatment. Research continues to explore the efficacy of family-based treatment and predictors of treatment response to further improve outcomes. Several behavioral treatments for adults also exist, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention, third-wave acceptance-based treatments, and supportive psychotherapy, all of which help to improve symptoms and promote modest weight gain. Despite this, no one treatment is considered superior, and all existing behavioral approaches leave a proportion of adults symptomatic or at a high risk of relapse. As such, among adults, there is continued need for development of novel, mechanism-based approaches to better target the core symptoms of AN. Although antidepressants impart little benefit on weight or symptoms, the second-generation antipsychotic olanzapine has shown ability to promote modest weight gain in outpatients with AN. Most recently, the field's evolving conceptualization of AN as a biologically based disorder coupled with technological advancements has led to consideration of varying neuromodulation strategies as a potential therapeutic approach that remains under investigation.

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