Repairing the family...

A very important new study just came out of work done in Sweden on Family-Based (Maudsley) Treatment of anorexia in adolescent girls, titled "A Pilot Study of a Family-Based Treatment for Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa: 18- and 36-Month Follow-ups."

After 36 months, over 75% of the patients were in FULL REMISSION. And almost as importantly, "they experienced a less distant and chaotic atmosphere in their families." This, to me, points to the fact that a baffling, life-threatening illness can wreck havoc upon even the most loving of families. The restored health of the sick child greatly improved family functioning.

This study should be a must-read for treatment providers.

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Labyrinith said...

If only there was a similar approach for those of us who are beyond adolescence. Oh my wish for the new year.
(Ps. Your word verification was "liced"-clearly the most interesting I have found on Blogger so far!)

Carrie Arnold said...

You're right- we desperately need better treatment options. Though, for what it's worth, I used a Maudsley-type approach to get better. I moved home at 26 after numerous failed treatments.

A said...

I have a few qualms about this. . .

1. The full article is not shown. . .

2. I participated in a study like this -- we were a failure and our data was dropped from the statistical analysis to make the study more successful. . .

It makes me wonder how many researchers will manipulate statistics to get the promised/expected results. . .

Carrie Arnold said...


You raise some very good points, and without the paper, I really couldn't address them. I've done some high-level statistics work during grad school, and I know how to make numbers say what you want them to. So many ED studies have high dropout rates, too.

On the other hand, I think many people are afraid to confront a loved one's eating disorder because things tend to get worse before they get better. And it's important to see that successful treatment doesn't mean the family is going to be messed up forever.

Carrie Arnold said...

Oh, and one more thing about the manipulated statistics: this is why I don't trust any study that has funding from a big corporation, whether it's a food organization (Ocean Spray sponsoring research on the benefits of cranberries, for instance) or a pharmaceutical company. There was a study that showed industry-sponsored research had an unusual level of good results.

The other thing is that research showing a particular treatment doesn't work tends not to get published, or if it does, it's not always in the big name journals where people would hear about it.

I almost wrote about these issues for my science writing thesis, but I got distracted by a cute and quirky virus... :)

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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