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Psychological therapies for adults with anorexia nervosa: Randomised controlled trial of out-patient treatments

  • Chris Dare (a1), Ivan Eisler (a1), Gerald Russell (a2), Janet Treasure (a1) and Liz Dodge (a3)...
Abstract
Background

Currently, without systematic evidence, psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa in adults draws on psychodynamic, cognitive and systemic theories.

Aims

To assess effectiveness of specific psychotherapies in out-patient management of adult patients with anorexia nervosa.

Method

Eighty-four patients were randomised to four treatments: three specific psychotherapies – (a) a year of focal psychoanalytic psychotherapy; (b) 7 months of cognitive-analytic therapy (CAT); (c) family therapy for 1 year – and (d) low contact, ‘routine’ treatment for 1 year (control).

Results

At 1 year, there was symptomatic improvement in the whole group of patients. This improvement was modest, several patients being significantly undernourished at follow-up. Psychoanalytic psychotherapy and family therapy were significantly superior to the control treatment; CAT tended to show benefits.

Conclusions

Psychoanalytic and family therapy are of specific value in the out-patient treatment of adult patients with anorexia.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Dr Christopher Dare, Section of Psychotherapy, Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF
Footnotes
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Declaration of interest

Research support comes from the Leverhulme Foundation and the Mental Health Research Fund.

Footnotes
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Psychological therapies for adults with anorexia nervosa: Randomised controlled trial of out-patient treatments

  • Chris Dare (a1), Ivan Eisler (a1), Gerald Russell (a2), Janet Treasure (a1) and Liz Dodge (a3)...
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