A recent clinical study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found preliminary evidence supporting the notion that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is beneficial to preventing relapse and improving outcomes in patients with weight-restored Anorexia Nervosa (AN). The aim of the present study was to compare the relapse prevention effectiveness of CBT versus maintenance treatment as usual (MTAU) for weight-restored AN.
Participants were patients suffering from AN who were part of the inpatient or day hospital program at the Toronto General Hospital Eating Disorders Program. After participants reached a body mass index (BMI) of at least 19.5 for 2-3 weeks, they were able to begin participation in the present study. About half of the participants chose to enter into the CBT treatment condition and the rest received MTAU. Participants in the CBT group focused on addressing thoughts and behaviors about eating and weight that increase the risk of relapse, and then changing those thoughts and behaviors to healthier strategies and skills. In addition cognitive strategies were taught for a broader range of issues, such as self-esteem, interpersonal problems, and developmental issues.
Results showed that participants in the CBT group had a significantly longer time to relapse than those in the MTAU group, with 65% of the CBT group and 34% of the MTAU not having relapsed after 1 year. The authors concluded that “the current findings provide preliminary evidence that CBT may be helpful in improving outcome and preventing relapse in weight-restored AN.”
Study authors: J. C. Carter, T. L. McFarlane, C. Bewell, M. P. Olmsted, D. B. Woodside, A. S. Kaplan, R. D. Crosby