FAMILY-BASED TREATMENT FOR ADOLESCENTS WITH EATING DISORDERS

 

There is a strong need for greater breadth and depth in the study of eating disorders, particularly for the adolescent population. However, family therapies are the most studied and have the greatest systematic support for adolescent anorexia and are effective for adolescent bulimia. Research shows that, even at five years after treatment, benefits of the Maudsley Approach are sustained.

 

Historically, eating disorders have been very difficult to treat with only moderate recovery rates. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate among psychological disorders and can become a chronic illness involving multiple hospitalizations. Since FBT has been implemented in the US, several research studies have demonstrated those adolescents undergoing Family-Based Treatment have a significantly better prognosis. Recovery rates associated with this form of treatment are now reaching 70-90%.

 

In addition, the Maudsley Method in an outpatient setting has shown to dramatically help adolescents avoid discouraging and costly hospitalizations. It has become the treatment of choice for adolescents. Early intervention always offers a better prognosis. Treatment should be sought as early as symptoms are noticed. If at all possible, do not wait until your child fully meets all the criteria needed for a diagnosis of Anorexia or Bulimia.

IS  FAMILY-BASED THERAPY EFFECTIVE?

You hoped that it was a phase she would outgrow.

With love and encouragement, it might just go away.

But things seem to be getting worse

and concern has grown into fear.

Sometimes, you hardly recognize her.

Now you are uncertain what to do.

 

There is help.

Whether your child seems to fit all the criteria for anorexia or bulimia or not, don't wait. Adolescents with partial symptoms or other specified or unspecified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED/UFES, formerly EDNOS) often are still quite medically ill.

 

Early intervention offers the best chance to prevent a long-term, chronic illness.

 

Family-Based Treatment (FBT), also known as the Maudsley Approach was developed in response to research showing that eating disorder treatment involving the family is significantly more effective for adolescents than the more commonly implemented individual treatment.

 

Parents have been and are still being told that they play a role in the problem and, consequently, need to step back and allow the professionals and adolescent to work out issues driving the disorder. However, research does not support the notion of parental blame. In fact, the relative contributions of genetic, social, and individual factors continue to confound researchers and clinicians to a degree that statements regarding cause are, at this time, presumptuous.

 

Instead of focusing on uncertain causes, Dr. Thomas will focus on empirically-supported solutions. Parents are not rendered helpless, watching from the outside as their child struggles. Instead, they are viewed as an invaluable resource and are equipped to play an essential and active role in their child's recovery. Your family can become a united front, rising to and successfuly facing the challenge.

FAMILY-BASED 

IS  FAMILY-BASED THERAPY RIGHT FOR OUR FAMILY?

FBT or the Maudsley Approach is appropriate for adolescents who are at least 75% of their ideal body weight and otherwise medically stable as determined by a thorough medical evaluation.
 
This treatment is designed to intervene aggressively in the first stages of illness and is most effective with adolescents who have been ill for less than three years.
 
The Maudsley Approach empowers parents to use their creative resources and strengths to move their child toward health. This treatment is time consuming and labor-intensive and, as such, requires a commitment from the entire family.
 
A united family front must be established so it may not be suitable for families with serious parental discord. FBT has been successfully implemented in intact, single-parent, divorced, and blended families.