Eating disorder treatment in routine clinical care

  • This descriptive study examined patient characteristics, treatment characteristics, and short-term outcomes among patients with Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN) in routine clinical care. Results for patients receiving full-time treatment were contrasted with results for patients receiving ambulatory treatment. Data of a clinical trial including 116 female patients (18–35 years) diagnosed with AN or BN were subjected to secondary analyses. Patients were voluntarily admitted to one of nine treatment facilities in Germany and Switzerland. Patients received cognitive-behavioral interventions in accordance with the national clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of EDs under routine clinical care conditions, either as full-time treatment or ambulatory treatment. Assessments were conducted after admission and three months later. Assessments included a clinician-administered diagnostic interview (DIPS), body-mass-index (BMI), ED pathology (EDE-Q), depressive symptoms (BDI-II), symptoms of anxiety (BAI), and somatic symptoms (SOMS). Findings showed that treatment intensity differed largely by setting and site, partly due to national health insurance policies. Patients with AN in full-time treatment received on average 65 psychotherapeutic sessions and patients with BN in full-time treatment received on average 38 sessions within three months. In comparison, patients with AN or BN in ambulatory treatment received 8–9 sessions within the same time. Full-time treatment was associated with substantial improvements on all measured variables for both women with AN (\(\it d\) = .48-.83) and BN (\(\it d\) = .48-.81). Despite the relatively small amount of psychotherapeutic sessions, ambulatory treatment was associated with small increases in BMI (\(\it d\) = .37) among women with AN and small improvements on all measured variables among women with BN (\(\it d\) = .27-.43). For women with AN, reduction in ED pathology were positively related to the number of psychotherapeutic sessions received. Regardless of diagnosis and treatment setting, full recovery of symptoms was rarely achieved within three months (recovery rates ranged between 0 and 4.4%). The present study shows that a considerable amount of patients with EDs improved after CBT-based ED treatment in routine clinical care within three months after admission. Intensive full-time treatment may be particularly effective in quickly improving ED-related pathology, although full remission of symptoms is typically not achieved. A small amount of ambulatory sessions may already produce considerable improvements in BN pathology and weight gain among women with AN. As patient characteristics and treatment intensity differed largely between settings, results should not be interpreted as superiority of one treatment setting over another. Furthermore, this study shows that treatment intensity is quite heterogeneous, indicating the possibility for increasing effectiveness in the treatment of EDs in routine clinical care.

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Author:Kathrin SchopfORCiDGND, Silvia SchneiderORCiDGND, Andrea Hans MeyerGND, Julia LennertzGND, Nadine HumbelGND, Nadine-Messerli BürgyGND, Andrea WyssenORCiDGND, Esther BiedertGND, Bettina IsenschmidGND, Gabriella MilosGND, Malte ClaussenGND, Stephan TrierGND, Katherina WhinyatesGND, Dirk AdolphORCiDGND, Tobias TeismannGND, Jürgen MargrafORCiDGND, Hans-Jörg AssionGND, Bianca UeberbergGND, Georg JuckelORCiDGND, Judith MüllerGND, Benedikt KlaukeGND, Simone MunschGND
Parent Title (English):PLOS ONE
Subtitle (English):a descriptive study examining treatment characteristics and short-term treatment outcomes among patients with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa in Germany and Switzerland
Place of publication:San Francisco
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2023/12/22
Date of first Publication:2023/06/30
Publishing Institution:Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsbibliothek
Tag:Open Access Fonds
Issue:6, Article e0280402
First Page:e0280402-1
Last Page:e0280402-16
Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Open Access Publication Fund of Ruhr-Universität Bochum.
Institutes/Facilities:Forschungs- und Behandlungszentrum für psychische Gesundheit
Dewey Decimal Classification:Philosophie und Psychologie / Psychologie
open_access (DINI-Set):open_access
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY 4.0 - Attribution 4.0 International