Family-based treatment of eating disorders

Int J Eat Disord. 2005;37 Suppl:S64-7; discussion S87-9. doi: 10.1002/eat.20122.


The current article provides a brief description of the theory and empirical support for family treatment of eating disorders. The main literature related to family treatment for anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN) is reviewed and the findings highlighted. Family treatment, particularly as devised by researchers at the Maudsley Hospital, appears to be an effective treatment for adolescents with short-term AN. It also may be an appropriate treatment for BN in the same age group, although evidence for this is in much shorter supply. Data support the use of family treatments for adolescents with eating disorders. Controlled trials and other systematic research are needed to determine whether family treatment is the best approach.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Family Therapy*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy*
  • Humans