Behavioral therapies may prevent relapse of anorexia nervosa

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 8, 2006

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No available medications can effectively treat patients with anorexia nervosa, but a few behavioral therapies could help prevent at least a relapse of the serious eating disorder, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality after reviewing the current literature.

The agency's review also found that several medications and behavioral therapies can help patients with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapy that helped patients develop thinking patterns that could counteract their unhealthy eating behavior was found to help prevent relapse in adult anorexic patients after their weight had been restored to a normal level. There was not enough evidence to determine whether the therapy worked during the acute phase of the illness.

The researchers also concluded that family therapy does not appear to work with adults who have longstanding anorexia nervosa. But one study found that family therapy did seem to work better for younger patients.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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