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The costs and benefits of intensive day treatment programs and outpatient treatments for eating disorders: An idea worth researching

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The costs and benefits of intensive day treatment programs and outpatient treatments for eating disorders: An idea worth researching

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Abstract

Outpatient care (e.g., individual, group, or self‐help therapies) and day treatment programs (DTPs) are common and effective treatments for adults with eating disorders. Compared to outpatient care, DTPs have additional expenses and could have unintended iatrogenic effects (e.g., may create an overly protective environment that undermines self‐efficacy). However, these potential downsides may be offset if DTPs are shown to have advantages over outpatient care. To explore this question, our team conducted a scoping review that aimed to synthesize the existing body of adult eating disorder literature (a) comparing outcomes for DTPs to outpatient care, and (b) examining the use of DTPs as a higher level of care in a stepped care model. Only four studies met the predefined search criteria. The limited results suggest that the treatments have similar effects and that outpatient care is more cost‐effective. Furthermore, no studies explored the use of DTPs as a higher level of care in a stepped care model (despite international guidelines recommending this approach). Given the clear dearth of literature on this clinically relevant topic, we have provided specific avenues for further research.

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... A recent critique of DP [13] suggested that there are potential disadvantages to consider. These include costs (patient time, staffing, food for meals), and undermining patient autonomy through use of a structured and strict schedule of programs and menus. ...
... While we did not make directional hypotheses, previous evaluations of ED treatment which included DPs [26] showed that greater support for patient autonomy increased the motivation of patients, which leads to better outcomes. Extrapolation from the critique offered by Ali and colleagues [13] would also suggest that such changes might enhance outcomes. ...
... Thus, outcomes can be more confidently attributed to the treatment formats provided. In the future, it would be valuable to compare the outcomes of the DP in the current study to inpatient and outpatient treatments, as it has been consistently identified in the literature that there is limited research on clinical outcomes and, in particular, comparisons of different intensities of treatment [13]. ...
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The use of a Day Program (DP) format (i.e., intensive daily treatment with no overnight admission) has been shown to be an effective treatment for eating disorders (EDs). The disadvantages, however, include higher cost than outpatient treatment (including costs of meals and staff), greater disruption to patients’ lives, and the use of a highly structured and strict schedule that may interrupt the development of patients’ autonomy in taking responsibility for their recovery. This study investigated whether reducing costs of a DP and the disruption to patients’ lives, and increasing opportunity to develop autonomy, impacted clinical outcomes. Three sequential DP formats were compared in the current study: Format 1 was the most expensive (provision of supported dinners three times/week and extended staff hours); Format 2 included only one dinner/week and provision of a take-home meal. Both formats gave greater support to patients who were not progressing well (i.e., extended admission and extensive support from staff when experiencing feelings of suicidality or self-harm). Format 3 did not provide this greater support but established pre-determined admission lengths and required the patient to step out of the program temporarily when feeling suicidal. Fifty-six patients were included in the analyses: 45% were underweight (body mass index (BMI) < 18.5), 96.4% were female, 63% were given a primary diagnosis of anorexia nervosa (or atypical anorexia nervosa), and mean age was 25.57 years. Clinical outcomes were assessed using self-reported measures of disordered eating, psychosocial impairment, and negative mood, but BMI was recorded by staff. Over admission, 4- and 8-week post-admission, and discharge there were no significant differences between any of the clinical outcomes across the three formats. We can tentatively conclude that decreasing costs and increasing the opportunities for autonomy did not negatively impact patient outcomes, but future research should seek to replicate these results in other and larger populations that allow conclusions to be drawn for different eating disorder diagnostic groups.
... The main strengths of the study are: ( Future studies should compare day-hospital CBT-E with "treatment as usual" to assess the true efficacy of the former. Furthermore, to test less expensive forms of stepped care approaches, as suggested by Ali et al. (2021), non-responders to outpatient treatment could be randomized to day-hospital or treatment conclusion with the option to return to outpatient care when their motivation to change improves. However, according to our results, day-hospital CBT-E seems a promising alternative to inpatient treatment for patients with eating disorders not responding to outpatient treatment. ...
Article
Objective: To assess outcomes in adult patients with eating disorders administered enhanced cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-E) in a day-hospital setting. Method: Forty-three consecutive patients with eating disorders (86% females; mean age 28.8 [SD = 11.8]) were admitted to a 13-week day-hospital CBT-E program. Twenty-five (58.1%) patients were underweight (i.e., body mass index [BMI] <18.5 kg/m2 ; BMI 15.4 [SD = 2.2]) and 18 not (mean BMI 23.1 [SD = 6.3]) at baseline. All patients responded poorly to prior outpatient treatment. Body mass index and Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q), Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI), and Clinical Impairment Assessment (CIA) scores were recorded at baseline, end of treatment, and 20-week follow-up. Results: In 37 patients (86.0%) who completed the treatment, there were substantial improvements in eating-disorder features, general psychopathology, clinical impairment, and body weight (only in underweight patients), which were well maintained at follow-up. Discussion: Day-hospital CBT-E is a promising treatment for adults with eating disorders.
Article
In celebration of the 2021 International Conference on Eating Disorders, this Virtual Issue showcases Spotlight articles published since 2019 in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Spotlight articles identify gaps in the literature and propose novel “ideas worth researching” to improve understanding, etiology, epidemiology, impacts, and prevention or treatment of eating disorders. Nine such articles are presented and are grouped thematically into: exploring mechanisms underlying distinct eating disorder symptoms (severe food restriction; driven exercise; sleep disturbance); comparing cost‐effectiveness of two commonly employed treatment formats (intensive day treatment vs. outpatient treatment); harnessing technology to improve screening and treatment; and improving the reach and impact of eating disorders research. This sample of Spotlight articles illustrates the breadth and diversity of research interests in the field. We hope the Virtual Issue inspires conference delegates to generate yet further ideas worth researching so that, collectively, we make progress toward the goal of reducing the burden of suffering from eating disorders.
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Predicting lithium response (LiR) in bipolar disorder (BD) may inform treatment planning, but phenotypic heterogeneity complicates discovery of genomic markers. We hypothesized that patients with “exemplary phenotypes”—those whose clinical features are reliably associated with LiR and non-response (LiNR)—are more genetically separable than those with less exemplary phenotypes. Using clinical data collected from people with BD (n = 1266 across 7 centers; 34.7% responders), we computed a “clinical exemplar score,” which measures the degree to which a subject’s clinical phenotype is reliably predictive of LiR/LiNR. For patients whose genotypes were available (n = 321), we evaluated whether a subgroup of responders/non-responders with the top 25% of clinical exemplar scores (the “best clinical exemplars”) were more accurately classified based on genetic data, compared to a subgroup with the lowest 25% of clinical exemplar scores (the “poor clinical exemplars”). On average, the best clinical exemplars of LiR had a later illness onset, completely episodic clinical course, absence of rapid cycling and psychosis, and few psychiatric comorbidities. The best clinical exemplars of LiR and LiNR were genetically separable with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.88 (IQR [0.83, 0.98]), compared to 0.66 [0.61, 0.80] (p = 0.0032) among poor clinical exemplars. Variants in the Alzheimer’s amyloid–secretase pathway, along with G-protein-coupled receptor, muscarinic acetylcholine, and histamine H1R signaling pathways were informative predictors. This study must be replicated on larger samples and extended to predict response to other mood stabilizers.
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Objective: Understanding the mechanisms of action of psychological treatments is a key first step in refining and developing more effective treatments. The present study examined hypothesized mediators of change of enhanced cognitive behavior therapy (CBT-E) and interpersonal psychotherapy for eating disorders (IPT-ED). Method: A series of mediation studies were embedded in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) comparing 20 weeks of CBT-E and IPT-ED in a transdiagnostic, non-underweight sample of patients with eating disorders (N = 130) consecutively referred to the service. Three hypothesized mediators of change in CBT-E (regular eating, weighing frequency, and shape checking) and the key hypothesized mediator of IPT-ED (interpersonal problem severity) were studied. Results: The data supported regular eating as being a mediator of the effect of CBT-E on binge-eating frequency. The findings were inconclusive regarding the role of the other putative mediators of the effects of CBT-E; and were similarly inconclusive for interpersonal problem severity as a mediator of the effect of IPT-ED. Discussion: This research highlights the potential benefits of embedding mediation studies within RCTs to better understand how treatments work. The findings supported the role of regular eating in reducing patients' binge-eating frequency. Other key hypothesized mediators of CBT-E and IPT-ED were not supported, although the data were not inconsistent with them. Key methodological issues to address in future work include the need to capture both behavioral and cognitive processes of change in CBT-E, and identifying key time points for change in IPT-ED.
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Background: Even though evidence-based interventions can enhance clinical outcomes and cost effectiveness, in the field of eating disorders, implementation of empirically supported treatments (ESTs) in routine inpatient and outpatient settings is slow. Objective: This study examined differential (cost-) effectiveness, after implementing evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy-enhanced (CBT-E) throughout a Dutch treatment center. Method: Two consecutive cohorts of adult patients, BMI between 17.5 and 40, were compared, with one cohort (N = 239) receiving treatment-as-usual (TAU) between 2012 and 2014 and the other (N = 320) receiving CBT-E between 2015 and 2017. Results: Eating disorder pathology, measured with self-reports, decreased significantly in both cohorts; overall, no differences in clinical outcomes between both cohorts were found. Treatment costs and treatment duration were considerably lower in 2015-2017. When limiting the cost analysis to direct costs, there is a 71% likelihood that CBT-E is more cost-effective and a 29% likelihood that CBT-E leads to fewer remissions at lower costs, based on the distribution of the cost-effectiveness plane. The likelihood that TAU leads to lower costs is 0%. Discussion: Findings show that implementing an EST throughout inpatient and outpatient settings leads to lower costs with similar treatment effect and has the advantage of shorter treatment duration and a shorter inpatient stay.
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A bstract Computational neuroscience has contributed to understanding compulsive behavior by distinguishing habitual from goal-directed choice through model-free and model-based learning. Yet, questions remain about applying this approach to psychiatric conditions that are characterized by complex behaviors that occur outside the laboratory. Here, we compared individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN), whose self-starvation appears both excessively goal-directed and habitual, with healthy controls (HC) to assess: 1) whether their behavior is characterized by enhanced or diminished model-based behavior, 2) the domain specificity of any abnormalities by comparing learning in a food-specific context as well as in a monetary context, and 3) whether impairments are secondary to starvation by comparing learning before and after initial treatment. Across all conditions, individuals with AN showed an impairment in model-based, but not model-free, learning, suggesting a general and persistent contribution of habitual over goal-directed control, across domains and timepoints.
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Background: Eating disorders are serious conditions which are increasing in prevalence internationally. The causes of these conditions are complex and incompletely understood, and clinical presentations can vary over time. The complexity of these conditions can also complicate treatment. Therefore, stepped care treatment comprising a hierarchy of interventions, including access to day treatment programs (DTPs), is recommended. While studies have examined patient outcomes and provided narrative accounts of these programs, no published studies describe DTP development. This study aims to address this gap by examining development and implementation of a DTP from service providers and patients' perspectives. Methods: This study utilised a mixed-methods design to examine the design and implementation of a publicly funded, closed group DTP in Australia. Data from service records and documents were analysed, alongside interviews with patients and interview and focus groups with service providers conducted between June 2016 and July 2017. Quantitative data were analysed using descriptive statistics. Qualitative data were analysed using the Framework Approach. Results: Seventeen service providers (n = 4 in managerial and n = 13 clinical positions, with clinical experience of 3 months to 20 years) and 11 patients (100% F, 17-33 years) were interviewed. The service providers reported that implementation was a stressful undertaking due to tight timeframes to achieve multiple tasks. Patients had diverse opinions regarding the DTP content and the group treatment experience. Despite this, all patients reported benefits from attending the DTP, varying from improvements in mood, weight gain, development of personal skills and strengths, to living independently. For further benefit, patients suggested that programs could be shaped and targets towards differing patient groups, with fewer breaks throughout treatment. Conclusions: Designing and implementing a DTP is a challenge and can be a time-intensive undertaking, however the result can be beneficial for both service providers and patients. The closed group format was beneficial in creating a supportive environment, though may have led to increases in additional eating disordered behaviours. While the current structure of this DTP may require reconsideration, organisations considering implementing a new DTP may find usefulness in the overall design described in this study, alongside learning from the issues experienced.
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Purpose of review: The current systematic review sought to compare available evidence-based clinical treatment guidelines for all specific eating disorders. Recent findings: Nine evidence-based clinical treatment guidelines for eating disorders were located through a systematic search. The international comparison demonstrated notable commonalities and differences among these current clinical guidelines. Consistency across guidelines was greatest for treatments with a larger evidence base, while those with a lower evidence base had recommendations that varied considerably. Summary: Evidence-based clinical guidelines represent an important step toward the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments into clinical practice. Despite advances in clinical research on eating disorders, a growing body of literature demonstrates that individuals with eating disorders often do not receive an evidence-based treatment for their disorder. Regarding the dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments, current guidelines do endorse the main empirically validated treatment approaches with considerable agreement, but additional recommendations are largely inconsistent. An increased evidence base is critical in offering clinically useful and reliable guidance for the treatment of eating disorders. Because developing and updating clinical guidelines is time-consuming and complex, an international coordination of guideline development, for example, across the European Union, would be desirable.
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Higher levels of care (HLC)—including inpatient hospitalization, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment—are frequently utilized within routine care for eating disorders. Despite widespread use, there is limited research evaluating the efficacy of HLC, as well as clinical issues related to care in these settings. This review describes the different levels of care for eating disorders and briefly reviews the most up-to-date guidelines and research regarding how to choose a level of care. In addition, as HLC approaches for ED continue to be developed and refined, pragmatic and conceptual challenges have emerged that provide barriers to clinical efficacy and the execution of high-quality treatment research. This review includes a discussion of various issues specific to HLC, as well as a summary of recent literature addressing them.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to assess the effectiveness of day treatment programmes for adults with eating disorders by comparing, evaluating and synthesizing published pre- and post-treatment outcomes. Design/methodology/approach – A systematic review was undertaken of publications containing quantitative outcome data relating to weight restoration among underweight patients, reduction in binge and purge/vomit symptoms, decrease in eating disorder psychopathology and improvement in psychological functioning. Findings – This systematic review of pre- and post- treatment outcomes from 15 studies revealed large effect sizes relating to increase in Body Mass Index (BMI), reduction in symptoms and decrease in depression. Medium effect sizes were observed for improvement in self-esteem and reduction in anxiety and medium-large effect sizes were generally observed for attitude-change, although a small effect size was identified for perfectionism. Practical implications – This systematic review indicates that day treatment for adults is effective in increasing BMI among underweight patients, reducing binge, purge/vomit symptoms and eating disorder psychopathology and improving psychological functioning. Further research is required to investigate whether gains are cost-effective and sustainable over the longer term, and how day treatment programmes can improve outcomes for patients who are vulnerable to non-response and drop-out. Originality/value To date, reviews of day treatment for adults with eating disorders have focused upon comparisons of treatment approach and structure and neglected to assess outcomes. Therefore this review fills a gap in existing literature
Article
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Why do we repeat choices that we know are bad for us? Decision making is characterized by the parallel engagement of two distinct systems, goal-directed and habitual, thought to arise from two computational learning mechanisms, model-based and model-free. The habitual system is a candidate source of pathological fixedness. Using a decision task that measures the contribution to learning of either mechanism, we show a bias towards model-free (habit) acquisition in disorders involving both natural (binge eating) and artificial (methamphetamine) rewards, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This favoring of model-free learning may underlie the repetitive behaviors that ultimately dominate in these disorders. Further, we show that the habit formation bias is associated with lower gray matter volumes in caudate and medial orbitofrontal cortex. Our findings suggest that the dysfunction in a common neurocomputational mechanism may underlie diverse disorders involving compulsion.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 20 May 2014; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.44.
Article
Full-text available
Why do we repeat choices that we know are bad for us? Decision making is characterized by the parallel engagement of two distinct systems, goal-directed and habitual, thought to arise from two computational learning mechanisms, model-based and model-free. The habitual system is a candidate source of pathological fixedness. Using a decision task that measures the contribution to learning of either mechanism, we show a bias towards model-free (habit) acquisition in disorders involving both natural (binge eating) and artificial (methamphetamine) rewards, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This favoring of model-free learning may underlie the repetitive behaviors that ultimately dominate in these disorders. Further, we show that the habit formation bias is associated with lower gray matter volumes in caudate and medial orbitofrontal cortex. Our findings suggest that the dysfunction in a common neurocomputational mechanism may underlie diverse disorders involving compulsion. Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 20 May 2014; doi:10.1038/mp.2014.44 INTRODUCTION
Article
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Cognitive behavioral therapy-based guided self-help (CBT-GSH) via the Internet has been shown to be effective in the treatment of bulimia nervosa (BN) and similar eating disorders (EDs), but it is rarely offered, and little is known about the effects, in clinical settings. The present study investigated the effects of a bibliotherapy-based CBT-GSH with Internet support in a clinical setting. Participants were 48 adult outpatients who were recruited without randomization from a specialized ED clinic, diagnosed with BN or similar eating disorder. Forty-eight patients in an intensive day patient program (DPP) were used as comparison group. The Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire (EDE-Q) and the Eating Disorder Inventory 2 measured pre- and post treatment symptoms. Results showed that both groups attained significant improvements in core- as well as related ED symptoms in both instruments. As expected, treatment effects were larger in the more intensive DPP. Nonetheless, bibliotherapy CBT-GSH appears to be a cost-effective treatment that represents a new way to provide more CBT in clinical settings.
Article
Research in computational psychiatry has sought to understand the basis of compulsive behavior by relating it to basic psychological and neural mechanisms: specifically, goal-directed versus habitual control. These psychological categories have been further identified with formal computational algorithms, model-based and model-free learning, which helps to provide quantitative tools to distinguish them. Computational psychiatry may be particularly useful for examining phenomena in individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN), whose self-starvation appears both excessively goal directed and habitual. However, these laboratory-based studies have not aimed to examine complex behavior, as seen outside the laboratory, in contexts that extend beyond monetary rewards. We therefore assessed (1) whether behavior in AN was characterized by enhanced or diminished model-based behavior, (2) the domain specificity of any abnormalities by comparing learning in a food-specific (i.e., illness-relevant) context as well as in a monetary context, and (3) whether impairments were secondary to starvation by comparing learning before and after initial treatment. Across all conditions, individuals with AN, relative to healthy controls, showed an impairment in model-based, but not model-free, learning, suggesting a general and persistent contribution of habitual over goal-directed control, across domains and time points. Thus, eating behavior in individuals with AN that appears very goal-directed may be under more habitual than goal-directed control, and this is not remediated by achieving weight restoration.
Article
Background: Although effective treatments exist for diagnostic and subthreshold-level eating disorders (EDs), a significant proportion of affected individuals do not receive help. Interventions translated for delivery through smartphone apps may be one solution towards reducing this treatment gap. However, evidence for the efficacy of smartphones apps for EDs is lacking. We developed a smartphone app based on the principles and techniques of transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy for EDs and evaluated it through a pre-registered randomized controlled trial. Methods: Symptomatic individuals (those who reported the presence of binge eating) were randomly assigned to the app (n = 197) or waiting list (n = 195). Of the total sample, 42 and 31% exhibited diagnostic-level bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder symptoms, respectively. Assessments took place at baseline, 4 weeks, and 8 weeks post-randomization. Analyses were intention-to-treat. The primary outcome was global levels of ED psychopathology. Secondary outcomes were other ED symptoms, impairment, and distress. Results: Intervention participants reported greater reductions in global ED psychopathology than the control group at post-test (d = -0.80). Significant effects were also observed for secondary outcomes (d's = -0.30 to -0.74), except compensatory behavior frequency. Symptom levels remained stable at follow-up. Participants were largely satisfied with the app, although the overall post-test attrition rate was 35%. Conclusion: Findings highlight the potential for this app to serve as a cost-effective and easily accessible intervention for those who cannot receive standard treatment. The capacity for apps to be flexibly integrated within current models of mental health care delivery may prove vital for addressing the unmet needs of people with EDs.
Article
Objective: Promptly establishing maintenance therapy could reduce morbidity and mortality in patients with bipolar disorder. Using a machine learning approach, we sought to evaluate whether lithium responsiveness (LR) is predictable using clinical markers. Methods: Our data are the largest existing sample of direct interview-based clinical data from lithium treated patients (n=1266, 34.7% responders), collected across 7 sites, internationally. We trained a random forest model to classify LR-as defined by the previously validated Alda scale-against 180 clinical predictors. Results: Under appropriate cross-validation procedures, LR was predictable in the pooled sample with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.80 (95% CI 0.78-0.82) and a Cohen's kappa of 0.46 (0.4-0.51). The model demonstrated a particularly low false positive rate (specificity 0.91 [0.88-0.92]). Features related to clinical course and the absence of rapid cycling appeared consistently informative. Conclusion: Clinical data can inform out-of-sample LR prediction to a potentially clinically relevant degree. Despite the relevance of clinical course and the absence of rapid cycling, there was substantial between-site heterogeneity with respect to feature importance. Future work must focus on improving classification of true positives, better characterizing between- and within-site heterogeneity, and further testing such models on new external datasets.
Article
Objective: The objective of this study was to review the current eating disorders outcome literature after residential or partial hospitalization programme (PHP) treatment. Method: Articles were identified through a systematic search of PubMed and PsycINFO. Results: Twenty-two PHP and six residential treatment studies reported response at discharge and tended to find improvement. Fewer studies (nine PHP and three residential) reported outcome at some interval after discharge from treatment. These tended to find sustained improvement. A substantial proportion of patients were lost to follow-up, particularly for residential treatment. Only two follow-up studies used controlled trials; both showed efficacy for PHP compared with inpatient treatment with regard to maintaining symptom remission. Conclusions: Improvement at discharge may not predict long-term outcome. Long-term follow-up studies were confounded by high dropout rates. While higher levels of care may be essential for reversing malnutrition, there remains a lack of controlled trials showing long-term efficacy, particularly for residential treatment settings. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.
Article
Understanding the factors that predict a favourable outcome following specialist treatment for an eating disorder may assist in improving treatment efficacy, and in developing novel interventions. This review and meta-analysis examined predictors of treatment outcome and drop-out. A literature search was conducted to identify research investigating predictors of outcome in individuals treated for an eating disorder. We organized predictors first by statistical type (simple, meditational, and moderational), and then by category. Average weighted mean effect sizes (r) were calculated for each category of predictor. The most robust predictor of outcome at both end of treatment (EoT) and follow-up was the meditational mechanism of greater symptom change early during treatment. Simple baseline predictors associated with better outcomes at both EoT and follow-up included higher BMI, fewer binge/purge behaviors, greater motivation to recover, lower depression, lower shape/weight concern, fewer comorbidities, better interpersonal functioning and fewer familial problems. Drop-out was predicted by more binge/purge behaviors and lower motivation to recover. For most predictors, there was large interstudy variability in effect sizes, and outcomes were operationalized in different ways. There were generally insufficient studies to allow analysis of predictors by eating disorder subtype or treatment type. To ensure that this area continues to develop with robust and clinically relevant findings, future studies should adopt a consistent definition of outcome and continue to examine complex multivariate predictor models. Growth in this area will allow for stronger conclusions to be drawn about the prediction of outcome for specific diagnoses and treatment types. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
Rebecca was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at age 15 but is now a qualified doctor who is able to maintain a healthy weight, manage her workload, and engage in normal relationships
Article
The present study was designed to evaluate the outcomes of a day treatment program for 55 eating disordered (ED) patients using clinical and statistical significance testing. Results indicated a statistically significant reduction on all eating disordered outcomes. With respect to clinical significance testing, analysis of these data indicated that the majority of the individuals in the day treatment program made clinically significant and reliable change by the termination of treatment on all eating disorder measures. However, considerably less patients improved to such a point that they were asymptomatic. The importance of combining clinical significance testing with traditional significance testing is discussed. KeywordsEating disorders-Clinical significance-Outcomes-Day treatment
Article
The eating disorders typically involve poor motivation to change. This article reviews the evidence behind many of our beliefs about motivation and whether we need a different conceptual framework for understanding why patients commonly get "stuck." The outcome literature is reviewed, and demonstrates that there is little evidence that we are effective in enhancing motivation to induce changes in symptoms. Indeed, there are suggestions that commonly used models are unhelpful. Verbal expressions of motivation are not the best indicator of likely treatment response, and can best be understood as providing a "manifesto," which has functions that can obstruct recovery from the eating disorder. A behavioral analysis of motivation is likely to be more effective. Cognitive, emotional, and behavioral methods for enhancing motivation are outlined, with the aim of bypassing the motivational manifesto and encouraging positive therapeutic change.
Article
The aim of this paper is to reflect on the way that we as clinicians may play an inadvertent role in perpetuating eating disordered behaviour. This is considered within the theoretical framework of Schmidt and Treasures' maintenance model of anorexia nervosa (AN). The model includes four main domains; interpersonal factors, pro-AN beliefs, emotional style and thinking style. Interpersonal reactions are of particular relevance as clinicians (as with family members) may react with high expressed emotion and unknowingly encourage eating disorder behaviours to continue. Hostility in the form of coercive refeeding in either a hospital or outpatient setting may strengthen conditioned food avoidance and pessimism may hamper motivation to change. Negative schema common to eating disorders, for example low self-esteem, perfectionism and striving for social value may augment existing or initiate new eating disorder behaviour. Services can become a reinforcing influence by providing an overly protective, palliating environment which ensures safety, security and acceptance whilst reducing loneliness and isolation. This stifles the need for an individual to develop their own sense of responsibility, autonomy and independence allowing avoidance to dominate. Furthermore, the highly structured environment of inpatient care supports the rigid attention to detail and inflexibility that is characteristic of people with eating disorders, and allows these negative behaviours to thrive. Careful planning of service provision, reflective practice, supervision and regular team feedback is essential to prevent iatrogenic harm.
Article
A detailed comparison was made of two methods for assessing the features of eating disorders. An investigator-based interview was compared with a self-report questionnaire based directly on that interview. A number of important discrepancies emerged. Although the two measures performed similarly with respect to the assessment of unambiguous behavioral features such as self-induced vomiting and dieting, the self-report questionnaire generated higher scores than the interview when assessing more complex features such as binge eating and concerns about shape. Both methods underestimated body weight.
Article
This paper reports a randomized controlled trial to compare the effects of day treatment programmes for patients with eating disorders with those of traditional outpatient treatment. Eating disorders are common, especially in adolescents, and their worldwide prevalence is increasing. Treatment interventions for patients with eating disorders have traditionally been offered on an outpatient or inpatient basis, but the recent introduction of day hospital programmes offers the possibility of greater cost-effectiveness and relapse-prevention for this population. Volunteers from an outpatient clinic for eating disorders were randomly assigned either to a treatment group (n = 21), participating in a modified day treatment programme based on the Toronto Day Hospital Program, or to a control group (n = 22) receiving a traditional outpatient programme of interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behaviour therapy and pharmacotherapy. Data were collected from January to December 2002 using the Eating Disorder Examination, Eating Disorder Inventory-2, Beck Depression Inventory, and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Participants in the day treatment programme showed significantly greater improvements on most psychological symptoms of the Eating Disorder Inventory-2, frequency of binging and purging, body mass index, depression and self-esteem scores than the control group. They also showed significant improvement in perfectionism, but the group difference was not significant. Nurses in day treatment programmes can play various and important roles establishing a therapeutic alliance between patient and carer in the initial period of treatment. In addition, the cognitive and behavioural work that is vital to a patient's recovery, that is, dealing with food issues, weight issues and self-esteem, is most effectively provided by a nurse therapist who maintains an empathic involvement with the patient.
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