Family-based Treatment of Eating Disorders: A Narrative Review

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2019 Jun;42(2):193-204. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2019.01.004. Epub 2019 Apr 3.


Eating disorders (EDs) are serious psychiatric illnesses that typically develop during adolescence or young adulthood, indicating that individuals with EDs may benefit from early intervention. Family-based treatment is the leading treatment of youth with anorexia nervosa, with increasing evidence of its efficacy for youth with bulimia nervosa. This review describes the role of family engagement within family-based treatment of EDs, followed by a summary of current empirically supported, family-based ED interventions. It concludes with discussion of the ways in which family interventions are expanding and adapting to improve the breadth and scope of ED treatment in adolescence and young adulthood.

Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Bulimia nervosa; Eating disorders; Family intervention; Family-based treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anorexia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Bulimia Nervosa / therapy*
  • Family Therapy*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders
  • Humans