Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Adolescents, family therapy and anorexia

A number of studies of adolescents with anorexia nervosa have shown positive results for family therapy and several trials comparing family therapy with other treatments have shown that it is more effective than individual psychotherapy and other family interventions. A follow-up study on one of these trials looked at 38 women five years after they had taken part in the original study. The researchers found that 75% of the participants now had no eating disorder symptoms and that only 8% of the patients who had reached a healthy weight by the end of the trial had relapsed. Conjoint family therapy (where the whole family was seen together) was as effective as separated family therapy (where the eating disorder patient was seen seperately from the rest of the family) apart from when the mother of the family was more critical of the child with anorexia. In this group of people separated family therapy was found to be more effective than conjoint family therapy.

Eisler, Ivan ... [et al] - A randomised controlled treatment trial of two forms of family therapy in adolescent anorexia nervosa : a five-year follow-up Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry June 2007, 48(6), 552-560

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