A New Successful Approach to Anorexia Nervosa

anorexiaAnorexia nervosa is a disease that frightens all who are affected by it.  To see a loved one actively wasting away in front of your own eyes is devastating.  The frustration, confusion, and often, self-recrimination, all combine to render even the most stalwart among us feeling hopeless.

In the October issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers report long-term success for teenagers who undergo intense family-based treatment.  Developed at the Maudsley Hospital in London, the treatment is an intensive outpatient program in which families are taught how to actively help their child get back to a healthy weight.

The emphasis here is to first restore the child to a healthy weight, and then to address any underlying issues of anxiety or perfectionism with psychotherapy.  The study compares individual therapy with family based therapy, and while both helped most of the teenagers get back to a normal weight within a year, the teenagers who had family based therapy were far more likely to stay healthy.  Of the children who received traditional individual therapy, 40 percent relapsed within one year after treatment.  Only 10 percent of those who received the family based therapy relapsed within the same time frame.

To find out more about this innovative approach to this heart-wrenching disease, click here.

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