Self-Help: A First Step for Treating Bulimia

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
January/February 2001 Volume 12, Number 1
©2001 Gürze Books

Self-help may be valuable as a first step in treatment for a sizable number of patients with bulimia nervosa, according to Dr. Jacqueline C. Carter and her co-workers at Toronto General Hospital. These researchers randomly assigned 75 females with bulimia nervosa, who were on a waiting list for treatment, to one of two self-help groups or to a waiting list control condition (WL) for 8 weeks. The first self-help group (OBE) followed a cognitive behavioral self-help manual, Overcoming Binge Eating (Christopher Fairburn, 1995). The second self-help group (SA) followed a self-help manual, Self-Assertion for Women (Pamela E. Butler, 1992). The authors reported a significant reduction in the frequency of binge eating in both self-help groups but not in the control group. The frequency of self-induced vomiting and the incidence of depression were significantly reduced in the SA group but not in the OBE or WL groups. Women in the SA group also reported a significant increase in self-esteem; self-esteem was unchanged in the OBE and WL groups. The researchers presented their study at the Eating Disorders Research Society Meeting November 9-12 in Prien am Chiemsee, Germany.

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