Meal Plan in the Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa: A Way of Feeding the Disorder and Starving the Patient

Maria João Padrão, Maria Raquel Barbosa, Joaquim Luís Coimbra


For the mainstream Psychology/Psychiatry, anorexia nervosa is considered an eating disorder characterized by the low body weight and by the restrictive eating pattern. The traditional psychiatric treatment consists in the establishment of a meal plan that must be scrupulously followed and, most frequently, in pharmacological treatment. We propose an alternative conceptualization of anorexia nervosa that envisages this disorder as pertaining to the control domain. In this sense, we formulate psychiatric intervention as a “pact with anorexia”, once it follows the very same logic, prohibitions and self-impositions of the disorder. Specifically, we envisage the meal plan as a way of maintaining anorexia, instead of suppressing it. As we could observe in our four year research project, in which we’ve followed several anorectic female patients, those who were more committed to their psychiatric treatment were precisely those who had more difficulty in recovering from anorexia – i.e., from renouncing the control from which the disorder lives. Finally, we suggest some fundamental underpinnings to an effective therapeutic approach, based in our conceptualization and understanding of the disorder.

Full Text:



Global Journal of Health Science   ISSN 1916-9736(Print)   ISSN 1916-9744(Online)

Copyright © Canadian Center of Science and Education

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.