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Psychother Psychosom Med Psychol. 1996 Jan;46(1):11-22.

[Total symptom-oriented and psychodynamic concept in inpatient treatment of anorexia nervosa. A quasi-experimental comparative study of 40 admission episodes].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Abteilung Psychotherapie und Psychosomatische Medizin Albert-Ludwigs-Universit├Ąt Freiburg.


Inpatient treatment programs for severely anorectic patients often combine or integrate psychodynamic approaches with an explicit focus on symptoms. There is a dearth of studies evaluating treatments, let alone in a controlled way. In a quasi-experimental design we compare the normalization of body weight in the 20 consecutive admission episodes before ("PD") and the 20 episodes after ("PD & SY") introduction and integration of explicit symptom orientation derived from the St. Georges model (Crisp 1980) on a psychoanalytically oriented psychosomatic ward. All patients fulfill ICD-10 criteria for either restrictive (F50.00) or bulimic (F50.01) anorexia nervosa. In addition to AN(C)OVAS growth curve modelling and multi state analysis, a variant of survival analysis, are used to model the shape and temporal course of treatment responses. Clinical features at admission and total duration of treatment and drop-out rates are comparable. The PD & SY group reaches target weight significantly more frequently (14 vs. 5 episodes, p = 0.023) and with a much higher total probability (0.70 vs. 0.25 in the PD group, Cox regression p = 0.002). After a phase of adaptation the treatment team feels relieved by the more systematically structured approach and is now able to treat a far larger number of patients. It does not seem justifiable anymore to withhold anorectic patients explicitely symptom-oriented treatment components. These and other conclusions for clinical practice and research are discussed.

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