Family-based therapy can aid those with anorexia

Posted on September 25, 2014

For a long time, people blamed families for causing anorexia and thought they should be left out of treatment. However, a new study suggests that when you involve them, families can be useful, and that more focused family treatment works faster and more cost-effectively for most patients.

The take-away message for parents is that, first, there is good treatment available for their child who is struggling with anorexia. Second, the preferred treatment is family-based therapy in which parents help their child regain weight, study author Dr. Stewart Agras, professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, said in a university news release.

Parents are able to disrupt the maintaining behaviors of anorexia long enough that the thoughts and cognitions that go with the disease diminish.

Participants in the study were enrolled in two different types of family-based therapies. One program taught parents how to help their children eat normally and regain weight at home, while the other sought to resolve family problems. Patients in both therapy groups had similar rates of recovery from anorexia. But those in the program that focused on normal eating habits gained weight faster and required less hospitalization, the study found.

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Category(s):Eating Disorders

Source material from U.S. News

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