Current Treatments for Peter Pan Syndrome May Need Further Evaluation


Treatment for Peter Pan Syndrome may need new approaches and its efficacy may not yet be fully established according to a research paper published by the International Journal on Eating Disorders.

Peter pan syndrome is a famous term used to refer to adult men who refuse to “grow up”. It describes men who remain in the mindset of little boys and refuse to accept mature roles and responsibilities. This connotation was made famous by media and pop culture, but it is not a recognized syndrome or disorder by the American Psychiatric Association and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. In the field of eating disorders, the term “Peter Pan Syndrome” is used to describe anorexic individuals (usually adolescents) who also fear growing into adulthood. This term also describes anorexic individuals’ fantasies of being lightweight and delicate.

Why Current Treatments Need Further Evaluation?

According to the study, there might not be enough evidence supporting the efficacy of current treatments for anorexia nervosa. A collection of research and other literature suggest that therapeutic results of current managements may not be well established.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is one option for treating anorexia nervosa. Inpatient treatment differs from country to country. In some places, it is a common treatment while in other countries it is not. According to a study, inpatient treatment does not receive much research attention because it is different all over the world; there is no uniformity.


Another issue for inpatient treatment is the clarity of treatment for adults and adolescents, the goals and indications of treatments between the two groups are not well established.

Cohort studies evaluating inpatient treatments reveal that weight gain can’t be achieved through inpatient treatments (whether the regimen is strict or flexible). No evidence was found supporting the weight regain through the use of drugs given to patients staying in an inpatient setting.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is the mainstay treatment for both adolescents and adults experiencing Peter Pan Syndrome. Whether the patient is receiving an inpatient treatment or a day treatment, outpatient treatments are still done. A particular outpatient treatment; Family based treatment has been shown to be effective in treating adolescents with this syndrome. But the empirical evidence may hold certain issues.

One study compared adolescents receiving Family based treatment to those who just receive psychotherapy. The study favored Family based treatment and the results reveal an improvement in the patient’s eating habits. However, further research done to evaluate this study revealed certain discrepancies that may cloud the real efficacy of the treatment. One issue is the small number of patients’ involved (21 patients) and the other one is the probable superiority of the Family based treatment over psychotherapy, which is just a supportive treatment.



The research suggests that evidence supporting the current treatments may be lacking, and thus calls for an evaluation.


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