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Severe eating disorders helped by CBT

In a recent study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, investigators reported that people with severe eating disorders can be effectively treated by cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that focuses on perfectionism, binge eating, and other related issues.

Two types of CBT were employed in the protocol (in addition to a wait-list control group). One CBT protocol focused exclusively on eating-disorder psychopathology and the other was a broader, more complex form that included treatment of mood intolerance, perfectionism, and low self-esteem.

The two CBT groups experienced significant improvement whereas the wait-list group experienced little change in symptoms. The authors noted that in addition to the direct benefit to people with eating disorders, another important implication of this finding is that hospital stays can be avoided for the majority of these patients.

Study authors: C. G. Fairburn, Z. Cooper, H. A. Doll, et al.