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CBT is Effective for Bulimia Nervosa

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a more effective and efficient treatment for binging and purging associated with bulimia nervosa than psychoanalytic psychotherapy. In the current study, 70 patients with bulimia nervosa were randomized to receive either 2 years of weekly psychoanalytic psychotherapy (n=34) or 20 sessions of CBT during a 5-month period (n=36). The Eating Disorder Examination Interview was administered to measure participant progress, before treatment at baseline, after 5 months, and after 2 years. While both treatments resulted in improvement, there was a significant difference in outcome between the two groups. After 5 months of treatment, 42% of patients in the CBT group had stopped binging and purging compared to 6% of patients in the psychoanalytic psychotherapy group. At 2 years, 44% in the CBT group and 15% in the psychoanalytic psychotherapy group had stopped binging and purging. Despite the considerable difference in treatment duration, CBT was more effective and generally faster in relieving binging and purging.

Poulsen, S, Lunn, S. Daniel S.I., Folke, S. Mathiesen, B.B., Katznelson, H. Fairburn, C.G. (2013). A Randomized Controlled Trial of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy or Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Bulimia Nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2013.12121511

Internet-Based CBT for Bulimic Symptomatology

A study published in Behaviour Research and Therapy found a significant improvement in eating disorder symptoms (behavior and cognitions), among adolescent participants (n=101) with bulimia nervosa (BN) or bulimic symptomatology following the completion of an internet-based cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) intervention. These findings suggest that an internet-based approach could serve as an initial intervention for adolescents with bulimic symptomatology.

Pretorius, N., Arcelus, J., Beecham, J., Dawson, H., Doherty, F., Eisler, I.,…Schmidt, U. (2009) Cognitive-behavioural therapy for adolescents with bulimic symptomatology: The acceptability and effectiveness of internet-based delivery. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47(9), 729-736.

Men Have Eating Disorders – Cognitive Therapy Can Help

Anorexia and bulimia are not just affecting women. A recent Harvard Medical School survey showed that nationally, 25% of those with anorexia or bulimia and 40% of those who binge eat are male. The reported prevalence of eating disorders among men was much higher than previously expected.

This article in the Washington Post discusses the survey, and notes that, “Treatment for males and females involves cognitive therapy to overcome a distorted body image, which is at the core of eating disorders.”

Forbes Magazine: Patient Fix Thyself… Cognitive Behavior Therapy… may be better than Prozac

 

“Dump the Couch! And ditch the Zoloft. A new therapy revolution is here,” says the cover of the April, 2007 issue of Forbes Magazine.

Forbes is referring to Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which has “been shown to be surprisingly effective in quelling an ever expanding array of mental maladies: depression, anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, bulimia, hypochondria–even insomnia. Now almost 150 clinical trials are under way to learn whether CBT also can help patients with Tourette’s syndrome, gambling addiction, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome and more; one trial studies the therapy in children who have been sexually abused.”

The Forbes article highlights patients who improved with CBT, and includes commentary from leaders in the field, including Dr. Aaron Beck.