Anatomy of Anorexia

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9780393048353: Anatomy of Anorexia

This work offers information on how families can help their loved ones. Early diagnosis and treatment, and family participation are crucial in preventing anorexia from becoming a chronic condition and can save the life of the anorexic. Writing for those who suffer from anorexia as well as their parents, friends and therapists, Steven Levenkron traces the stages of the disorder from an innocent desire to "lose a few pounds" to the lethal stage of the disease where the life of the victim is at stake. He discusses the multiple origins of this disorder: childhood trauma, society's role in demoralizing girls and women by encouraging an obsession with body image, genetics and familial origins. Incldued are segments of therapy sessions followed by dicussions of what transpired betwen therapist and patient which reveal the benefit of the therapeutic relationship in treating anorexia. The book seeks to demystify a life-threatening disease, showing how the girls and women who are afflicted with anorexia can be helped - and can look forward to rich and productive lives.

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About the Author:

Steven Levenkron is a psychotherapist in private practice. He is the best-selling author of Cutting (Norton), The Best Little Girl in the World, Treating and Overcoming Anorexia, and The Luckiest Girl in the World. He lives in New York.

From Publishers Weekly:

According to the author, a psychotherapist who has treated close to 300 anorexics and written widely in the field (Treating and Overcoming Anorexia Nervosa, etc.), this very serious mental illness, which chiefly afflicts teenage girls, has a recovery rate of only 25%-35%. Because current health care policies severely limit hospitalization for anorexia, Levenkron concentrates on the importance of detecting early symptoms. Drawing on case studies from his practice, he outlines the progressive physical and psychological stages that, if unchecked, lead inexorably to life-threatening weight loss. Reacting to a societal obsession with thinness, adolescent girls at first delight in the sense of achievement they feel after successfully dieting away a few pounds. For some, it can lead to a compulsion to lose even more weight by engaging in rigorous exercise programs and severely restricting calories. When those close to a girl express concern about her thinness, the anorexic typically responds by aggressively defending her behavior, often frightening her parents--who usually wish to avoid exacerbating the situation--into leaving her alone. The anorexic now considers her thin body a special accomplishment and resists all efforts to make her gain weight. In this clearly written and informative study, Levenkron reviews several treatment options, including individual, group and family psychotherapy, self-help groups and behavior modification, as well as medication and hospitalization when necessary, and emphasizes the importance of tailoring treatment to the complex and highly individualized needs of each anorexic. He recommends combining professional treatment with altering negative family dynamics when possible--even between divorced parents--and fostering an atmosphere of communication and trust. Agent, Olga Wieser. (Feb.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Steven Levenkron
Published by W. W. Norton & Company (2000)
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