Mental capacity to consent to treatment in anorexia nervosa: explorative study

Isis F. F. M. Elzakkers*, Unna N. Danner, Hans W. Hoek, Annemarie A. van Elburg

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Abstract

    Background

    Mental capacity to consent to treatment in anorexia nervosa is a neglected area in clinical decision-making.

    Aims

    To examine clinical and neuropsychological parameters associated with diminished mental capacity in anorexia nervosa.

    Method

    An explorative study was conducted in 70 adult female patients with severe anorexia nervosa. Mental capacity to consent to treatment was assessed by experienced psychiatrists. Further measurements included the MacCAT-T (to assess mental capacity status), a range of clinical measures (body mass index (BMI) and comorbidity) and neuropsychological tests assessing decision-making, central coherence and set-shifting capacity.

    Results

    Diminished mental capacity occurs in a third of patients with severe anorexia nervosa and is associated with a low BMI, less appreciation of illness and treatment, previous treatment for anorexia nervosa, low social functioning and poor set shifting.

    Conclusions

    Assessment of diminished mental capacity in anorexia nervosa requires careful evaluation of not only BMI, but also the degree of appreciation of illness and treatment, history and the tendency to have a rigid thinking style.

    Copyright and usage

    (C) The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)147-153
    Number of pages7
    JournalBJPsych Open
    Volume2
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar-2016

    Keywords

    • IOWA-GAMBLING-TASK
    • COGNITIVE REMEDIATION THERAPY
    • TORONTO-ALEXITHYMIA-SCALE
    • EATING-DISORDERS
    • DECISION-MAKING
    • CENTRAL COHERENCE
    • MORTALITY-RATES
    • MACCAT-T
    • FUTURE
    • ADOLESCENTS

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