Anorexia nervosa (AN) is a serious psychiatric disorder which can be defined as a person’s refusal to maintain bodyweight at or above a minimally normal weight for age and height. Anorexia patients are often extremely underweight, and both their physical and psychosocial functioning are under serious threat as a result of the disorder. AN predominantly affects girls and young women. The largest group at risk is teenagers aged 15 to 19. The state-of-the-art treatment of AN has been documented in various guidelines. Generally, the focus of treatment is on the patient’s eating habits, body weight, and body image, although the impact of psychological problems, such as lack of self-esteem, perfectionism, traumas, as well as problems with fitting into the system or functioning in society, is also given due consideration.
Despite the treatment offered, however, the risk of relapse remains considerable. An estimated 31% of all patients successfully treated for anorexia nervosa relapse, especially during the first 2 years after their discharge.
In the leading guidelines in the field of eating disorders, general consensus exists that relapse prevention in patients with AN is essential. However, a major problem is the lack of structured methods for relapse prevention to support professionals in clinical practice. Therefor the Guideline Relapse Prevention Anorexia Nervosa (GRP) was developed, intended for use by both professionals, patients an their network members to apply relapse prevention strategies in a structured manner.
A recent cohort study in 2016 (See: More Links, at the bottom of this website) showed that while working with the Guideline Relapse Prevention, the rate of full relapse was 11%. This rate of full relapse is much lower than in other studies, indicating that the Guideline Relapse Prevention offers a promising form of intervention for reducing relapse in patients with anorexia nervosa.
Part 3 is the workbook for the patient and their network members. They work together on assignments to gain a better understanding of the patient’s individual process of relapse. All this information is summarized in a Relapse Prevention Plan (RPP).