Family-Based Treatment Improves Adolescent Anorexia

More effective than adolescent-focused individual therapy for remission over longer term
By Beth Gilbert
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- A family-based treatment (FBT) approach appears to be more effective in facilitating full remission over the longer term than an adolescent-focused individual therapy (AFT) approach for adolescents with anorexia nervosa, according to a study published in the October issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

James Lock, M.D., of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues randomized 121 adolescents, aged 12 through 18 years, with a DSM-IV diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (excluding the amenorrhea requirement) to 24 outpatient hours of FBT or AFT over 12 months.

At end of treatment (EOT), the investigators found no differences in full remission between those in the FBT and AFT groups. However, FBT was significantly superior to AFT in terms of full remission at six- and 12-month follow-up. FBT was also superior to AFT for partial remission and body mass index percentile at EOT but not at follow-up. In addition, those in the FBT group showed greater changes in Eating Disorder Examination score at EOT but not at follow-up.

"Although both treatments led to considerable improvement and were similarly effective in producing full remission at EOT, FBT was more effective in facilitating full remission at both follow-up points," the authors write.

Three authors disclosed receiving royalties from Guilford Press for books on FBT.

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