102276: How many individuals achieve symptom abstinence following psychological treatments for bulimia nervosa?

A meta-analytic review

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About the Course:

Although many psychological treatments for bulimia nervosa (BN) are effective in reducing core BN symptoms, it is not entirely clear how many patients who receive these treatments completely abstain from these symptoms. The present study aimed to estimate the percentage of patients with BN who achieve symptom abstinence. Data were analysed from 45 randomized controlled trials, using random effects meta-analysis techniques. This study found that around 35% of patients who completed treatment achieved abstinence at post-treatment. A similar estimate was observed at follow-up periods (35%). There was some evidence that CBT was associated with the highest estimates and that guided self-help was associated with the lowest estimates. Overall, the present findings highlight the urgency toward improving the effectiveness of BN treatments, especially since such a large percentage of patients (> 60%) do not fully recover.

Journal/Publisher:

Academy for Eating Disorders

Publication Date:

January 2018

Authors

Tracey D. Wade, PhD; Jake Linardon

About the Authors:

Tracey D. Wade, PhD, is Professor and Dean of the School of Psychology at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. She has worked as a clinician in the area of eating disorders for over 20 years. Her research interests are in the etiology, prevention, and treatment of eating disorders. Dr. Wade is Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) journal Clinical Psychologist and is a member of the Steering Committee of the National Eating Disorder Collaboration in Australia. She is a recipient of the Ian M. Campbell Memorial Prize and of the Early Career Award, both from the APS, and has published more than 130 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

Course Objectives:

  1. Describe the importance of using symptom abstinence as a measure of treatment outcome.

  2. Discuss how many patients achieve complete abstinence following psychological treatments for BN.

  3. Identify the variables that may be partly influencing these abstinence estimates.

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