Lege Artis Medicinae

[The liaison between internal medicine and psychiatry can be life-saving in the treatment of severe anorexia nervosa]

SZÉNYEI Gábor, BENE László, TÚRY Ferenc

SEPTEMBER 20, 2018

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2018;28(08-09)

[INTRODUCTION - In the severe forms of anorexia nervosa hospitalization may be required, and the somatic treatment is provided in a department of internal medicine. In such cases, collaboration between internist and psychiatrist is essential. Psycho­logical support is necessary even in the period of nutritional rehabilitation. This can be applied in the framework of consultation-liaison psychiatry. After the initial weight gain providing psychotherapy in an outpatient setting is fundamental. In the case of anorexic patients who maintain a close relationship with the family, family therapy is the most effective treatment. CASE REPORT - A 26-year old female patient with anorexia was hospitalized in a department of internal medicine after an extreme emaciation, her body mass index was 11.6. During this period there was a psychiatric consultation involving the fa-ther of the patient as well. Her body weight increased, and outpatient family therapy was initiated. Fifteen family sessions were conducted in nine months, with special focus on the separation-individuation process. At the end of the therapy a full remission could be observed, with a normal body weight, and her periods returned. After a four-month follow-up her state was stable, and she got married. CONCLUSION - Interdisciplinary collaboration can be cardinal when somatic and psychological disorders are interwoven. The role of family therapy is crucial in those cases where emotional separation from the family of origin is difficult, even if the patient does not live with the parents any longer. ]

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