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Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría

versão On-line ISSN 0717-9227


BEHAR A, Rosa. Spirituality and asceticism in anorexia nervosa. Rev. chil. neuro-psiquiatr. [online]. 2012, vol.50, n.2, pp.117-119. ISSN 0717-9227.

Background: Spirituality and asceticism are relevant characteristics of patients suffering from anorexia nervosa (AN). Objective: To describe the evidence on spirituality and asceticism in AN. Method: Medline/Pubmed databases were used to look for evidence on spirituality and asceticism in AN. Results: From an historical point of view, asceticism of medieval saints ("holy anorexia") and that of the modern anorexics, display common features; nevertheless, the former wanted to reach sacredness and the latest seek thinness, so valuable socioculturally. Contemporary Protestantism and AANshare distinctive characteristics of protestant ethics, mainly self-discipline, self-control, self-sacrifice, rationality, efficiency and goals achievement. Although asceticism has been significantly correlated to worse outcome, more treatment dropouts, perfectionism, immaturity and purgative behaviors, is also associated to creative and adaptative skills and its connection to spiritual and religious proneness may help the improvement of psychopathological and/or behavioral symptoms in AN. Conclusions: Spirituality may stimulate the motivation, contention and increase therapeutic adherence in patients suffering from AN. It should be considered as a helpful and eventually routine therapeutic tool in the treatment of anorexic patients.

Palavras-chave : Eating disorders; anorexia nervosa; spirituality; asceticism.

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