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Panminerva Medica 2004 September;46(3):189-98

language: English

Psychological treatment of eating disorders. A review of the literature

Fassino S., Pierò A., Levi M., Gramaglia C., Amianto F., Leombruni P., Abbate Daga G.

Psychiatry Unit, Department of Neurosciences University of Turin, Center for Food Behaviour Disorders “Amedeo di Savoia” Hospital, Turin, Italy


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The aim of ­this ­study is to ­review the exist­ing lit­er­a­ture (PubMed data­base) on the psy­cho­log­i­cal treat­ments for eat­ing dis­or­ders (EDs), sub­di­vid­ed in indi­vid­u­al, ­group and fam­i­ly ther­a­pies. Moreover new approach­es and direc­tions in ­this ­field are ­addressed. An exten­sive lit­er­a­ture ­review is per­formed to iden­ti­fy the psy­cho­log­i­cal treat­ment ­trials in ano­rex­ia ner­vo­sa (AN) and buli­mia ner­vo­sa (BN) pub­lished ­over the ­past 2 ­decades. Eighty-two stud­ies ­focused on psy­cho­ther­a­peu­tic treat­ment of EDs are ­reviewed. Only a ­minor ­part of ­these stud­ies are ran­dom­ised and con­trolled. While ­there is evi­dence of the effi­ca­cy of cog­ni­tive behav­ior­al ther­a­py (CBT), ­this is ­still miss­ing for oth­er psy­cho­ther­a­peu­tic approach­es. However, ­there is gen­er­al agree­ment ­about the impor­tance of psy­cho­ther­a­py in mul­ti­mod­al treat­ments. There is ­still a ­need for a ­shared con­cept of out­come in EDs, ­since the effi­ca­cy of psy­cho­log­i­cal treat­ment is great­ly influ­enced by the def­i­ni­tion of out­come adopt­ed (con­cern­ing symp­toms, psy­cho­so­cial func­tion­ing, per­son­al­ity).

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