Self-Help for Recurrent Binge Eating

One program led to greater abstinence.

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
November/December 2010 Volume 21, Number 6
©2010 Gürze Books

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be effective for treating eating disorders with core symptoms of binge eating; however, few patients actually receive CBT in clinical practice.

Dr. Ruth Striegel-Moore and her colleagues at Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, designed a blended efficacy study to evaluate whether a manual-based guided self-help form of CBT (CBT-GSH), given in 8 sessions in a health maintenance organization over 12 weeks, would be more effective than treatment as usual (J Consult Clin Psychol 2010; 78:312). The treatment sessions were administered by masters-level professionals trained in intervention techniques.

The study group included 123 patients, 91.9% of whom were female; the mean age was 37.2 years. The patients included 10.6% with bulimia nervosa (BN), 48% with binge eating disorder (BED), and 41.4% with recurrent binge eating without BN or BED. Baseline, post-treatment and 12-month follow-up data were collected.

Twelve months after the sessions had ended, the self-help program resulted in greater binge abstinence (64.2%) versus treatment as usual (44.6%), measured by the Eating Disorder Examination (EDE). Secondary outcomes reflected greater improvements for the guided self-help group in dietary restraint, eating, shape and weight concern, depression, and social adjustment, but not weight change.

The authors concluded that the guided self-help form of CBT is a viable first-line treatment option for most patients with recurrent binge eating who do not meet diagnostic criteria for BN or anorexia nervosa.

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