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Int J Eat Disord. 2009 Apr;42(3):202-7. doi: 10.1002/eat.20591.

Maintenance treatment for anorexia nervosa: a comparison of cognitive behavior therapy and treatment as usual.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Toronto, Canada.



The aim of this study was to compare two maintenance treatment conditions for weight-restored anorexia nervosa (AN): individual cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and maintenance treatment as usual (MTAU).


This study was a nonrandomized clinical trial. The participants were 88 patients with AN who had achieved a minimum body mass index (BMI) of 19.5 and control of binge eating and purging symptoms after completing a specialized hospital-based program. Forty-six patients received 1 year of manualized individual CBT and 42 were in an assessment-only control condition (i.e., MTAU) for 1 year. This condition was intended to mirror follow-up care as usual. Participants in both the conditions were assessed at 3-month intervals during the 1-year study. The main outcome variable was time to relapse.


When relapse was defined as a BMI <or= 17.5 for 3 months or the resumption of regular binge eating and/or purging behavior for 3 months, time to relapse was significantly longer in the CBT condition when compared with MTAU. At 1 year, 65% of the CBT group and 34% of the MTAU group had not relapsed.


The current findings provide preliminary evidence that CBT may be helpful in improving outcome and preventing relapse in weight-restored AN.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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