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Int J Eat Disord. 2018 Aug;51(8):863-869. doi: 10.1002/eat.22876. Epub 2018 May 2.

The acceptability, feasibility, and possible benefits of a neurobiologically-informed 5-day multifamily treatment for adults with anorexia nervosa.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California.
The Center for Balanced Living, Columbus, Ohio.
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.



Novel treatments for adults with anorexia nervosa (AN) are lacking. Recent scientific advances have identified neurobiologically-driven temperament contributors to AN symptoms that may guide development of more effective treatments. This preliminary study evaluates the acceptability, feasibility and possible benefits of a multicenter open trial of an intensive 5-day neurobiologically-informed multifamily treatment for adults with AN and their supports (SU). The temperament-focused treatment combines psychoeducation of AN neurobiology and SU involvement to develop skills to manage traits contributing to disease chronicity.


Fifty-four adults with AN and at least one SU (n = 73) received the 5-day treatment. Acceptability, feasibility, and attrition were measured post-treatment. Clinical outcome (BMI, eating disorder psychopathology, family function) was assessed post-treatment and at >3-month follow-up.


The treatment had low attrition, with only one drop-out. Patients and SU rated the intervention as highly acceptable, and clinicians reported good feasibility. At post-treatment, patients demonstrated significantly increased BMI, reduced eating disorder psychopathology, and improved family function. Benefits were maintained in the 39 patients who completed follow-up assessment, with 62% reporting full or partial remission.


Preliminary results are promising and suggest this novel treatment is feasible and acceptable. To establish treatment efficacy, fully-powered randomized controlled trials are necessary.


anorexia nervosa; intensive multifamily treatment; open trial; temperament based treatment


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