Between 4-7% of young women in Western countries suffer from full or partial bulimia which typically develops in adolescence. If untreated bulimia can persist into adulthood creating other physical and mental health problems and placing a huge burden on families. Strangely no randomized controlled trials (the most rigorous form of research) have been conducted on adolescents with bulimia until a British study in this month's American Journal of Psychiatry which compared family therapy with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)/guided self care. Although both treatments were equally effective after a year the CBT led to a quicker improvement after six months and was cheaper and more acceptable to the girls.
Schmidt, Ulrike ... [et al] - A randomized controlled trial of family therapy and cognitive behavior therapy guided self-care for adolescents with bulimia nervosa and related disorders American Journal of Psychiatry April 2007, 164(4), 591-598