News

People with eating disorders benefit from specialist CBT and self-help programmes, says NICE

Cognitive behavioural therapy is talking treatment which focuses on the relationship between a person’s thoughts and their behaviour. Specialised cognitive behavioural (CBT-ED) is specifically designed for people with eating disorders and is delivered in four distinct stages over 40 weeks.

It is recommended for adults with anorexia nervosa and may be offered to children alongside family therapy.

Professor Christopher Fairburn, director of the Centre for Research on Eating Disorders at Oxford and a topic expert from the committee said:

“We want more people with eating disorders to benefit from this type of tailored therapy so that they can overcome the disorder and be at minimum risk of relapse.”

Eating disorders are characterised by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s health. It is estimated that more than 725,000 people in the UK have an eating disorder, a figure that is increasing year on year.

Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at NICE said: “Eating disorders affect a large number of the population, both female and male. With the right treatments almost half of people can recover fully from anorexia and many others can significantly improve.

“Individual CBT-ED for people with anorexia and other group and self-help programmes for people with binge eating disorder, will help reduce relapse rates and aid recovery.”

The draft standard outlines the best treatments that can be offered to people with eating disorders and also suggests ways to monitor how effective they are.

Guided self-help programmes, which consist of initial face-to-face meetings and later phone consultations, are suggested as an option for those with binge eating disorder. Children and young people with bulimia may also participate in focused family therapy.

People with eating disorders may have associated complications such as osteoporosis (weakened bones) and anxiety disorders and it is important to focus on collaboration across healthcare services, the draft standard says.

Consultation on the draft standard will run until 8 January 2018. Members of the public and stakeholders are invited to comment on the proposed advice.