Thursday, December 17, 2009

Self-help groups for binge eaters

Binge-eating disorder can lead to obesity, other mental-health problems and problems at work and with friends, families and partners. Several psychological treatments have been found to be helpful in treating binge eating including cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy, dialectical behaviour therapy and behavioural weight loss. However, psychotherapy can be quite expensive and attempts have been made to channel people towards self-help which is much cheaper. Self-help group therapy is even cheaper and a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota compared the effectiveness of therapist-led, therapist-assisted and self-help group treatment in a study of 259 adults with binge-eating disorder. At the end of the treatment the therapist-led (51.7%) and therapist-assisted (33.3%) groups had higher rates of abstinence from binge-eating than the self-help one (17.7%). However, at follow-ups after six months and a year there was no difference between the groups suggesting that self-help might prove a viable alternative.

Peterson, Carol B. ... [et al] - The efficacy of self-help group treatment and therapist-lead group treatment for binge eating disorder American Journal of Psychiatry December 2009, 166(12), 1347-1354

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