By Molly McVoy, MD
A recent Wall Street Journal article reported on a study regarding teens with anorexia. The results of the study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, indicate that having parents actively involved in the treatment of adolescents with eating disorders is more effective than the traditional one-on-one treatment with a therapist.
Maudsley model versus traditional one-on-one therapy. The Maudsley model encourages parents to take charge of the eating habits of their children with eating disorders, such as anorexia. At one year, the study found that about 50 percent of patients treated with this family based therapy were in remission versus 23 percent in the more traditional individual therapy.
Anorexia nervosa is a serious, often life-threatening illness in which patients fear gaining weight to such a degree they restrict their diet and maintain a body weight below the 85 percent of a healthy weight. Successful treatment is intensive, involving medical monitoring, dietary interventions, therapy and, at times, medication.
This study adds to accumulating evidence that family involvement is critical in successful treatment of adolescents with eating disorders. As more studies are published with similar data, treatment centers for eating disorders and increasingly involving families in the intensive treatment programs.
The HealthyMinds.org has more information on eating disorders.