Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Family Therapy Helpful for Bulimic Teens

If you've ever been to therapy - and particularly if you've ever had weight issues - you probably won't be surprised by a recent study, reported by Reuters, that found family therapy is more effective than solo therapy for helping teenagers abstain from binging and purging.

I know I wasn't.

I love my family, but no one can drive me to overeat quite like they can.

Sadly, this is the first time U.S. researchers have evaluated treatment plans for bulimia nervosa in teens. The family-based therapy was broken into three phases:
Phase one: Patients and parents meet weekly for a therapist tot ry to help the parents stop their children from engaging in binging and purging. This phase lasts 2-3 months, according to the article.
Phase two: Begins only after success with stage one. In this stage, the family meets with a therapist every other week and the goal is to put give control over 'eating issues' back to the teen.
Phase three: Therapy is moved to once a month and they attempt to address how the eating disorder affects development processes.

The results beat solo therapy: Thirty-nine percent of the 41 patients in family-based therapy were completely abstaining from bulimic behavior, according to the story. Only 18 percent of the 39 bulimics who tried solo therapy had stopped binging and purging.

This family-based approach, called the Maudlsey approach, has also been used effectively to treat anorexia. You can find therapists who specialize in this approach online at Maudsleyparents.org.

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