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Bulimic Adolescents Respond to Cognitive-Based Approach

Cognitive behavior therapy slightly better than family therapy at rapidly reducing bingeing

THURSDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Individual cognitive behavior therapy guided self-care is slightly more effective than family therapy at rapidly reducing bingeing in adolescents with bulimia or unspecified eating disorders. It's also less expensive and more acceptable to patients, researchers report in the April issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Ulrike Schmidt, M.D., Ph.D., of the Section of Eating Disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, U.K., and colleagues randomly assigned 85 adolescents with bulimia or unspecified eating disorders to receive either family therapy or individual cognitive behavior therapy guided self-care.

After six months, the researchers found a more significant reduction in bingeing in the guided self-care group than in the family therapy group, but observed no significant group differences after 12 months.

"Our findings suggest that in adolescents with bulimia nervosa or eating disorder not otherwise specified, guided self-care has a slight advantage over family therapy in terms of acceptability, outcome and treatment cost," the authors conclude. "The clinical implication is that guided self-care for adolescents with bulimia nervosa is of value as an early intervention that can be delivered in non-specialist settings."

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