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Psychological treatments for people with bulimia nervosa and binging

Bulimia nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder in which people binge on food and then try to make up for this by extreme measures such as making themselves sick, taking laxatives or starving themselves. We reviewed studies of psychotherapies, including a specific form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT‐BN). We compared psychotherapy to control groups who got no treatment (e.g. people on waiting lists) and the specific CBT‐BN with other types of psychotherapy. We found that CBT was better than other therapies, and better than no treatment, at reducing binge eating. Other psychotherapies were also better than no treatment in reducing binge eating. Some studies found that self‐help using the CBT manual can be helpful, but more research and larger trials are needed.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Antidepressants compared with placebo for bulimia nervosa

Individual antidepressants are effective for the treatment of bulimia nervosa when compared to placebo treatment, with an overall greater remission rate but a higher rate of dropouts.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Antidepressants and psychological treatments, alone or combined, for bulimia nervosa

Psychotherapeutic approaches, mainly cognitive behavior therapy, and antidepressant medication are the two treatment modalities that have received most support in controlled outcome studies of bulimia nervosa. Using a more conservative statistical approach, combination treatments were superior to single psychotherapy. This was the only statistically significant difference between treatments. The number of trials might be insufficient to show the statistical significance of a 19% absolute risk reduction in efficacy favouring psychotherapy or combination treatments over single antidepressants. Psychotherapy appeared to be more acceptable to subjects. When antidepressants were combined with psychological treatments, acceptability of the latter was significantly reduced.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2010

Self‐help and guided self‐help for eating disorders

The eating disorders (anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED) and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS)) are disabling conditions and specialist treatment is not always easily accessible. Self‐help may bridge the gap. This review aimed to evaluate pure self‐help (PSH) and guided self‐help (GSH) interventions for eating disorders for all ages and genders, compared to psychological, pharmacological or control treatments and waiting list. Fifteen trials were identified, all focused on BN, BED or EDNOS, using manual‐based self‐help. There is some evidence that PSH/GSH reduce eating disorder and other symptoms in comparison to waiting list or control treatment and may produce comparable outcomes to formal therapist‐delivered psychological therapies. PSH/GSH may have some utility as a first step in treatment. In the future there need to be large well‐conducted effectiveness studies of self‐help treatments with or without guidance incorporating cost evaluations and investigation of different types of self‐help in different populations and settings.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2009

Medicines for Treating Depression: A Review of the Research for Adults

This summary will tell you what research found about the possible benefits and side effects of antidepressants. You can use this information to talk with your doctor about which medicine may be best for you.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: July 30, 2012

Systematic Reviews in PubMed

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