Does anxiety improve during weight restoration in anorexia nervosa? A systematic review

J Eat Disord. 2015 Mar 18;3:7. doi: 10.1186/s40337-015-0046-2. eCollection 2015.


Weight restoration is considered a principal outcome for treatment of Anorexia Nervosa (AN) due to the significant physiological disturbances resultant from acute states of malnutrition. Treatment outcomes for populations with AN are relatively poor, with increasing evidence suggesting that weight restoration alone is insufficient for long-term recovery. Research aimed at understanding the psychological sequaele of AN, in particular during weight restoration, nevertheless remain scarce. This systematic review aimed to evaluate existing research regarding anxiety symptoms during treatment for AN, and the relationship of anxiety symptomology and weight restoration. Twelve articles were identified from a systematic search of three electronic databases (PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and Web of Science), and were eligible for inclusion. Study methodology, results and quality were reviewed. Results regarding change in anxiety symptomology were inconsistent, though evidence did not support a relationship between anxiety change and weight restoration. Reasons for these inconsistencies and limitations of included studies were reviewed. Further research is warranted to elucidate the role of anxiety in AN and its implications for treatment and longer-term outcome.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Anxiety; Eating disorder; Nutritional rehabilitation; Weight.

Publication types

  • Review