Could Your Higher Weight Patient Have Atypical Anorexia?


Spotts-De Lazzer, A., & Muhlheim, L. (2019). Could your higher weight patient have atypical anorexia? Journal of Health Service Psychology, 45, 3–10.


When an overweight or obese patient presents with weight loss as a treatment goal, a psychologist may initially view this request as both positive and consistent with current public health campaigns. However, the psychologist must explore further because a significantly different clinical picture may emerge. Without knowledge specific to eating disorders and awareness of weight stigma, the psychologist could unwittingly cause harm to a patient with this presentation. This article addresses the following: the goal of weight loss; clinical considerations associated with atypical anorexia, a diagnosis signifying that criteria have been met for anorexia nervosa with the exception of low weight; and treatment of this eating disorder.

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