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Eur Eat Disord Rev. 2012 Mar;20(2):89-93. doi: 10.1002/erv.1137. Epub 2011 Sep 13.

The same but different? Treatment of anorexia nervosa in adolescents and adults.

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  • 1Eating Disorders Unit, Woodleigh Beeches Centre, Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust, Warwick, UK.


A significant number of patients with anorexia nervosa have to be transferred from child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to adult services. CAMHS and adult services differ in terms of therapeutic approach and the availability of specialist treatment. CAMHS treatment is often based around family interventions, which aim to help parents take control of their child's eating, and patients are often encouraged to 'externalise' the illness. Adult treatment tends to be based around individual therapy, and the patient is encouraged to take personal responsibility for change. The place of inpatient treatment is generally accepted for adults but there is uncertainty about its effectiveness for adolescents. Young people may find it difficult to negotiate the transition between services, and CAMHS and adult services need to work more closely together. Transitions should be carefully planned, with thorough preparation of both patients and their families.

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