Eating disorders are a major cause of physical and psychosocial impairment in young women, affecting at least one in twenty between the ages of 18 and 30. Anorexia nervosa accounts for around one in ten cases of eating disorders, bulimia about a third with the remainder of cases being made up of atypical disorders which are a combination of different features of anorexia and bulimia. In 2004 a form of cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) developed by Professor Christopher Fairburn from the University of Oxford became recognised by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the leading treatment for bulimia and was recommended for use across the NHS. Now, a new study by Professor Fairburn has shown that an enhanced version of the treatment is not only more effective than the older version but can be used to treat atypical eating disorders as well. 154 people were recruited for the study which was based in Oxfordshire and Leicestershire. The researchers found that the majority of patients responded well and rapidly to the new treatment and that the changes were sustained over the following year. Approximately two-thirds of those who completed treatment made a complete and lasting response with many of the remainder showing a substantial improvement. Another trial investigating the enhanced version of the therapy is showing promising results in people with anorexia.
You can find out more about this research by going to