Bulimia affects between 1 and 2% of adolescents with another 2-3% of teenagers showing some symptoms of bulimia without developing the full-blown condition. Bulimia can cause electrolyte disturbances, swelling of the parotid gland and the loss of dental enamel and is also linked to depression, anxiety and substance abuse. Recently family therapy has been used to combat the condition. Researchers in Chicago compared family therapy with supportive psychotherapy by dividing 80 patients into two groups. After twenty sessions, over a 6-month period 39% of the family-therapy group were free of bulimia symptoms compared to 18% of the supportive-psychotherapy group. After a further six months 29% of the family-therapy group were still symptom free comapared to 10% of the supportive-psychotherapy group.
le Grange, Daniel ... [et al] - A randomized controlled comparison of family-based treatment and supportive psychotherapy for adolescent bulimia nervosa Archives of General Psychiatry September 2007, 64(9), 1049-1056