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Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2012 Jan;20(1):e17-22. doi: 10.1002/erv.1075. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

A description of multiple family workshops for carers of people with anorexia nervosa.

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  • 1Eating Disorders Research Unit, King's College London, UK.


Carers of people with eating disorders are uncertain about how best to help and express the need for information. Fifty per cent of carers (usually parents) exhibit clinically significant anxiety and/or depression. This may result from a difficulty coping with the manifestations of anorexia nervosa (AN) in the sufferer. In turn, eating disorder symptoms can be maintained by family reactions to the illness. Thus, carer's own symptoms, plus their uncertainty about how to help, impinge upon the AN sufferer, exacerbating their symptoms and behaviours. In this paper, we describe an intervention which uses cognitive behavioural therapy principles to alleviate carer's depression and anxiety and motivational interviewing to target behaviours that maintain eating disorder symptoms, for example high expressed emotion and poor communication. This is given in the form of an educational workshop for two families.

Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and Eating Disorders Association.

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