Evidence-based treatment is a big buzzword not just for eating disorder therapy but for all medical and mental health practitioners. More than just a trendy idea, evidence-based treatment means that it is research evaluated and documented as being effective. A recent study by a collaborative team from Oxford University and the University of Copenhagen establishes that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is more effective that psychoanalytic psychotherapy (PPT) in patients with eating disorders.
The important overall point made in this research study, published last month in the American Journal of Psychiatry, is that CBT is more effective than PPT, as well as faster, in relieving binging and purging behaviors. Alsana has long utilized CBT as a primary modality of care, so this isn’t a big surprise to our treatment team.
According to this research, after five months of CBT, 42% of individuals had stopped binge eating and purging, as compared to just 6% of clients receiving PPT. After 2 years, 44% in the CBT were still not bingeing and purging, as compared to only 15% of subjects receiving PPT. The study doesn’t say that PPT is ineffective, or that it shouldn’t be part of a comprehensive individualized treatment plan when appropriate. It simply underscores that cognitive behavioral therapy works faster, and provides a more sustained impact for a higher number of people with bulimia nervosa, and is therefore an excellent evidence-based treatment option.
We use several types of cognitive behavioral therapy at Alsana. CBT is a treatment approach that is intensively goal oriented and hands-on. CBT helps our clients change their patterns of thinking and behavior in a way that improves both eating behaviors and co-occurring problems.
Cognitive Behaviors Therapy is effective in many areas, including:
- Bingeing and purging (and other eating disorder behaviors)
- Anxiety and depression
- Substance abuse issues
- Uncontrollable anger
- Low-self esteem
CBT used at Alsana helps clients focus on the cognitive (thoughts, feelings, attitudes, personal symbolism and beliefs) and then see how these relate to coping behaviors. Along the way, clients receiving CBT develop excellent skills that can be used for relapse prevention.