Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2006
Publication Date: 4/1/2006
Citation: Terre, L., Poston, W.S.C., Foreyt, J.P. 2006. Eating disorders. In: Mash, E., Barkley, R., editors. Treatment of Childhood Disorders. 3rd edition. New York, NY: Guilford Press. p. 778-829. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) are complex disorders that are often perplexing to therapists and difficult to manage. The purpose of this chapter is to review the history, nature, etiology, and treatment of these disorders, as well as to provide a brief introduction to the proposed diagnostic category of binge-eating disorder (BED). Individual psychotherapy, inpatient approaches, outpatient programs, and specific therapeutic techniques and components are presented. Throughout the chapter, we emphasize that treatment of these disorders is enhanced when psychologists work collaboratively with other health professionals on multidisciplinary teams in comprehensive multicomponent treatment programs. Although the last decade has been marked by important advances in our understanding of eating disorders, a solid empirical base is just beginning to emerge. For this reason, we believe that many treatments for eating disorders should still be considered experimental at the present time. As Ben-Tovim has recently noted, "the absence of authoritative evidence for treatment effectiveness makes it increasingly hard to protect resource intensive treatments in anorexia and bulimia nervosa, and existing theories of the causation of the disorders are too non-specific to generate effective programs of prevention." Commenting specifically on the empirical support for the management of child and adolescent eating disorders, Gowers and Bryant-Waugh have concluded that "the evidence base for effective interventions is surprisingly weak." However, with the increasing research and clinical interest in these disorders, we hope that more of the methods described in this chapter will be empirically established in the near future, and that new approaches will emerge.