Long-term efficacy of psychotherapies for Binge Eating Disorder

New study shows: Long-term Efficacy of Psychotherapies for Binge Eating Disorder

The cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as the interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) are effective in the long term for binge eating disorder (BED). This has been shown in qa randomized controlled trial by Anja Hilbert et al. (1) whose results were published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in january. BED is characterized by returning binge eating attacks that, contrary to bulimia nervosa, are not accompanied by compensating measures for weight control such as self-induced vomiting.

Out of 162 patients who participated in one of the two outpatient therapies in a group setting 90 have been examined again four years and seven months after the trial. A total of 64.4 percent of the participants have been sucessfully treated in the long term and exhibited a significantly and permanently improved psychopathology and psychosocial adaption. The body weight was permanently stabilized. Since binge eating attacks can lead to an increase of the body weight that is to be evaluated positively.The trial which took place in New Haven and San Diego thus showed that outpatient CBT and IPT in a group setting over a duration of 20 sessions lead to a permanent improvement of BED.  Anja Hilbert, Professor for behavioral medicine at the Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) AdiposityDiseases Leipzig emphasized that "previous studies have been showing the effectiveness of both therapeutic approaches for BED over the course of two years, but never over a longer period of time. That CBT and IPT are still effective after four years could be proven by our study results."

CBT is characterized by an approach that is directly concentrated on the pathology of eating disorders by which the patient is supossed to achieve a healthy eating behavior and an increased self and body acceptance. IPT on the other hand focuses on interpersonal problems in whose context the eating disorder surfaces and by this also treats the binge eating attacks themselves. During the observation period of four years after the trial however the eating disorder sympthoms slightly worsened after a CBT while they rather improved aster an IPT. Both therapies however have proven to be equally effective as a whole. The progress of the further improvement after the end of the treatment with the IPT is consistent with a catch up effect of this therapy form that has also been noticed for other eating disorders. Until this date CBT is generally considered to be the standard procedure for the BED treatment. The results of the study now encourage to increasingly also give the IPT approach a try in treatment.

(1) Anja Hilbert, Monica E. Bishop, Richard I. Stein, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, Anne K. Swenson, R. Robinson Welch, and Denise E. Wilfley. Long-term efficacy of psychological treatments for binge eating disorder. Britisch Journal of Psychiatry March 2012 200:232-237; published ahead of print January 26, 2012, doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.110.089664

Keywords: Psyche, etaing disorders, IFB-research