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J Consult Clin Psychol. 1993 Apr;61(2):261-9.

Cognitive treatments for eating disorders.

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Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is applicable to all eating disorders but has been most intensively studied in the treatment of bulimia nervosa (BN). CBT is designed to alter abnormal attitudes about body shape and weight, replace dysfunctional dieting with normal eating habits, and develop coping skills for resisting binge eating and purging. CBT is effective in reducing all core features of BN and shows good maintenance of therapeutic improvement. Although superior to therapy with antidepressant drugs, CBT has not been shown to be consistently superior to alternative psychological treatments. Different hypotheses about CBT's mechanisms of action are discussed.

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