Parents-Only Therapy May Be Optimal in Treating Anorexia

Family therapy for 12- to 18-year-olds with anorexia nervosa, in which all household members participate and a meal is held in the clinician’s office, may be less effective than a streamlined model involving only the parents and without the meal.

In a study published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 107 adolescents with anorexia nervosa were divided into two groups: those patients undergoing therapy with their family, which is the current standard of care, and those whose parents alone had the counseling while they received “supportive oversight” from a nurse.

“The goal of both treatment models was to try to assist the parents to support their child toward nutritional rehabilitation and weight restoration,” said lead author Daniel Le Grange, PhD, Benioff UCSF Professor in children’s health in the departments of psychiatry and pediatrics at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

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