Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Anorexic teens get boost from Family-Based Treatment (FBT)

In an article I read (Anorexia & FBT), it was found that teens suffering from anorexia recovered faster and remained healthier longer after receiving family-based therapy as opposed to individual therapy (IT). Most treatments for eating disorders have often been to send patient to a rehabilitation center somewhere far away from any family or support system in the hope that the doctors and therapist's there could help them get better. There is a stigma attached to anorexia stating that parents cause the eating disorder in their children, but this has been proven to be false and because of this many families agreed to send their loved ones away for treatment. This is now slowly becoming a thing of the past as more treatments are beginning to include the family into the healing process. Patient's treated with FBT have been shown to gain weight faster and show great improvement in attitudes and behaviors relating to food. A study was done to compare FBT to IT and it was found that when patients were treated using FBT 42% of patients had recovered as compared to 23% in the individual therapy group. At follow-up the FBT group had a higher rate of patients in full remission than the IT group and the percentage of relapse for the FBT group was 10% compared to 40% in the IT group.
Reading this article made me hopeful as a Family Therapist in training because I believe that FBT works and I fully support it's process. I have a desire to see families come together to help a loved one in need not to be separated because of an issue; this is the reason why I want to work with families, to help them improve their quality of life together.

Here are some chilling statistics on Anorexia:
  • 1 in 5 women struggle with an eating disorder or disordered eating (National Institute of Mental Health)
  • Eating Disorders affect up to 24 million Americans and 70 million individuals worldwide (The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders)
  • 90 % of those who have eating disorders are women between the ages of 12 and 25 (SAMHSA)
  • More than a million men and boys battle the illness every day (

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness?

  • A young woman with anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without Anorexia (American Journal of Psychiatry)
  • Five to ten percent of anorexics die within ten years of onset, 18-20 percent die within twenty years of onset, and only 50 percent report ever being cured (American Psychiatric Association)
  • 20% of people suffering from anorexia will prematurely die from complications related to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems (The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders)
Another great article to read on this topic: Fighting Anorexia: No One to Blame

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