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Br J Psychiatry. 1996 Jan;168(1):94-8.

Sequential treatment for bulimia nervosa incorporating a self-care manual.

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  • 1Eating Disorder Research Group, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a stepped care approach to the treatment of bulimia nervosa: a self-care manual followed, if necessary, by a course of attenuated cognitive behavioural treatment (CBT) in comparison with standard CBT.

METHOD:

One hundred and ten patients, presenting at a tertiary referral centre with ICD-10 bulimia nervosa or atypical bulimia nervosa, were randomly assigned to one of two treatment conditions; a) a sequential treatment group: 8 weeks with a self-care manual followed by up to eight sessions of CBT (if still symptomatic) or b) 16 sessions of CBT.

RESULTS:

Bulimic symptoms improved significantly in both groups with no significant differences between the two groups on any of the measures at the end of treatment or at 18 months follow-up. At end of treatment 30% (95% CI: 18-46%) of the sequential group and 30% (95% CI: 17-47%) of the standard treatment group were free from all bulimic symptoms. Sixteen of those in the sequential group improved significantly with self-care and did not require additional treatment. The median number of sessions taken by the sequential group was three (95% CI: 0-6). At 18 months follow-up 40% (95% CI: 23-59%) of the sequential group and 41% (95% CI: 25-59%) of the CBT group were symptom free.

CONCLUSIONS:

A sequential approach to the treatment of bulimia may be as effective as standard CBT and can considerably reduce the amount of therapist contact required.

PMID:
8770436
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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