As a nurse having worked on the inpatient eating disorder unit, I have seen the importance of implementing ways to support the comorbidity of autism and eating disorders.
Being admitted to the ward can initially be quite unsettling for this patient group as they are away from their usual routines and place of familiarity. I have found patients require further support to adapt to this new environment so they can engage in treatment.
Acknowledging the comorbidity enabled exploration of further individualised support options for patients, helping them feel more secure and relaxed throughout treatment on the ward.
I have found the following adaptations particularly useful:
I have learnt how understanding the needs of those with the autism helps patients to reach their recovery goals from their eating disorder at a pace that is more comfortable and manageable for them, providing them with individualised support and helping them build skills to work towards their recovery.
If a patient with such comorbidity were not to have their autism acknowledged I feel this would hinder their treatment and cause a patient to struggle more as they battle with their eating disorder.
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What is interoception, and why is it important?
BEACON is a brain imaging project looking at how the brain processes emotion and cognition in individuals with anorexia nervosa. We are also interested in how autistic characteristics affect these brain processes and how these processes change over time.
PEACE Pathway has been Highly Commended for the Acute Service Redesign Initiative at the HSJ Value Awards 2021.