Gowers, Simon and Bryant-Waugh, Rachel
Management of child and adolescent eating disorders: the current evidence base and future directions
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, (1), . (doi:10.1046/j.0021-9630.2003.00309.x).
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Although eating disorders in children and adolescents remain a serious cause of morbidity and mortality, the evidence base for effective interventions is surprisingly weak. The adult literature is growing steadily, but this is mainly with regard to psychological therapies for bulimia nervosa and to some extent in the field of pharmacotherapy.
This review summarises the recent research literature covering management in three areas, namely physical management, psychological therapies, and service issues, and identifies prognostic variables. Findings from the adult literature are presented where there is good reason to believe that these might be applied to younger patients. Evidence-based good practice recommendations from published clinical guidelines are also discussed.
Suggestions for future research are made, focusing on
1) the need for trials of psychological therapies in anorexia nervosa,
2) applications of evidence-based treatments for adult bulimia nervosa to the treatment of adolescents, and
3) clarification of the benefits and costs of different service models.
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