Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
November/December 2003 Volume 13, Number 6
©2002 Gürze Books
In Great Britain, the shortage of skilled therapists to treat people with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder has led researchers to search for treatment alternatives. A guided self-help program might offer an alternative treatment in a primary care setting, according to a group at Leicester Warwick Medical School, Leicester, UK (Br J Psychiatry 2002;181:230).
The British researchers investigated the effectiveness of self-help alone, self-help with face-to-face counseling, and counseling by telephone alone. They used a randomized controlled study comparing the three forms of self-help over 4 months with a comparison group of patients on a waiting list for treatment (control group).
Self-help delivered over four sessions with face-to-face counseling led to improved outcome after 4 months. They also found some evidence to support the use of guidance by telephone. A few patients had lasting remission in comparison to those receiving more intense counseling with self-help, but there was no significant difference in outcome between the groups after they had finished the stepped-care program. Those who had initially been offered guided self-help did have a lower long-term dropout rate.