Saturday, January 18, 2014

Family Based Treatment: An Approach Towards’ Treating Eating Disorders in Adolescents

      A recent issue of SCAN’s Pulse (the newsletter for the Sports, Cardiovascular, Wellness and Nutrition DPG group) published an article about eating disorders by Ms. Kerri Heckert, MS, RD, a Dietitian at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.  Eating Disorders (or ED’s) are notoriously known to be difficult to treat.  A recent Huffington Post article on Family Based Treatment (otherwise known as Maudley’s approach) cited that sufferers of anorexia are overwhelmingly young females which range in age from 12 to 26.  Even more alarming was that anorexia is known as the, “deadliest of all mental health conditions.” In the diseases early stages, adolescents coming from loving homes with parent’s who are not overwhelmed with their own mental health issues can benefit from Family Based Treatment or FBT. 
     The primary goal of FBT is to transition these adolescents from a malnourished to a well nourished state.  This is done in a series of 3 phases with 15 to 20 therapy sessions over the course of 9 to 12 months.   Parents are educated on the severity of the medical conditions attributed to the eating disorder.  Not much consideration is given to the cause of the disease, rather the effort is placed on weight restoration.  Through the process of overcoming the illness, the hope is that the patient will gain the appropriate insight to prevent regression. 
     The first phase of the illness usually requires the adolescent to stay home from school with her parents for approximately 2 weeks.   During this time, the child’s meals are constantly supervised by the parents who are involved in every step of the child’s meal planning.  Additionally the parents are asked to compassionately encourage the child to eat and reinforce the idea that it is a necessary part of life.  The second and third phases increase the child’s autonomy during meal times and eventually the majority of the weight required for the patient’s age and height is gained. Studies have shown success with adolescent’s suffering from anorexia but limited yet promising evidence have been reported with Bulimic’s as well. 

Heckert, Kerri. "Family Based Treatment: Getting Parents Involved in the Outpatient Treatment of Eating Disorders." SCAN's Pulse 33 (Jan. 2014): 12-14. Print.References
Pearson, Catherine. "Maudsley Method For Anorexia Treatment Puts Parents In Control Of Their Child's Recovery." The Huffington Post., 19 Sept. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2014.