Anorexia nervosa (AN) is an eating disorder associated with a high mortality and an often chronic and disabling course. Thus, novel treatment options should be explored. We performed two focus groups with a total of six people with AN on their use of music and their thoughts about music as an additional therapeutic option. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed in-depth using the NVivo 12 software package. The most prevalent theme throughout the focus groups involved positive expressions, emotions and memories related to music. This theme occurred in ~25% of the data. The importance of music was the second most common theme. Negative feelings and memories associated with music accounted for only ~10% of all references. All six patients expressed that they see benefit in using music therapy as an adjunct to their current treatment. Our analysis shows that people with AN connect music mainly with positive emotions and memories. Therapists might think about applying music more frequently during their sessions with AN patients and consider adding music therapy to their overall treatment concept. However, the results also suggest that music can influence mood not only positively but negatively as well. Quantitative research in bigger patient samples and randomized clinical trials will be necessary to verify these results.
Part of the book: Weight Management