Factors impacting treatment and recovery in Anorexia Nervosa: Qualitative findings from an online questionnaire

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Background: Anorexia nervosa (AN) is characterised by restriction of energy intake, fear of gaining weight and severe disturbances in weight or shape. Recovery from AN is a complicated and often multifaceted experience that can take many years to achieve. Qualitative research has found that support, being understood, hope, desire for recovery, positive experiences in treatment, self-efficacy, motivation and relationships are important in recovery from AN. The experience of treatment for patients with an eating disorder is an important aspect of recovery with the potential to enhance recovery or hinder it. The aim of the questionnaire was to better understand factors impacting the care experiences during treatment and or recovery from self-reported Anorexia Nervosa (AN). Method: An online questionnaire was developed and administered to past or current sufferers of Anorexia Nervosa, ≥18 years of age. Participants were recruited through eating disorder organisations both in Australia and the United Kingdom. The questionnaire was a mixture of quantitative and qualitative questions. The quantitative data was analysed using descriptive statistics and the qualitative data was analysed using conventional content analysis (CCA). Results: Of those who responded, most currently experienced self-reported AN. The quantitative results identified that most participants had trust and confidence in their health care provider and felt listened to and supported yet on the subject of the suitability of treatment this had varied opinions. Being understood, hope (life after AN) and self-acceptance were considered the top three important factors in the treatment and recovery from Anorexia Nervosa. The qualitative results revealed the factors hindering or benefiting treatment and recovery, and individuals' needs during the four phases of recovery. Conclusion: Factors were identified that could either hinder or benefit treatment and recovery and these included whether treatment supported the individual to cope with change, whether the individual found the treatment to be appropriate for their personal needs and whether treatment addressed underlying factors. Individuals' needs differed during the four phases of recovery. The findings of the study may help treatment providers address key factors involved in recovery at the right stage of treatment however by the nature of the qualitative methodology conclusions are putative and further definitive research is indicated.

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Fogarty, S., & Ramjan, L. M. (2016). Factors impacting treatment and recovery in Anorexia Nervosa: Qualitative findings from an online questionnaire. Journal of Eating Disorders, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40337-016-0107-1

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