Treating Individuals With Eating Disorders: Part 1.
About this resource
According to the American Psychiatric Association, eating disorders (EDs) are characterized by a persistent disturbance of eating or eating-related behaviors that result in altered consumption or absorption of food and that significantly impair physical health and/or psychosocial functioning. EDs are chronic psychiatric illnesses and are notoriously difficult to treat. The etiology of eating disorders is unknown and thought to be a complex interplay among biological predisposition, environmental and sociocultural factors, neurobiological influences, and psychological factors. Moreover, prevalence of eating disorders is increasing despite variation in prevalence estimates across studies. Nurses are well-positioned to implement appropriate screening for and comprehensive assessment of EDs as well as offer patient-centered treatment options including referrals when indicated. As the first in a two-part series, this article provides an overview of the clinical characteristics of EDs and key areas for assessment and diagnostic considerations. The follow-up article in this series will focus on pharmacological treatment strategies. [Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Services, 58(3), 7-13.].