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Anorexic and Bulimic Adolescents Living at Home: The Maudsley Method Shows Promise Part 2

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In my last article, I wrote about losing my daughter to anorexia and how I believed that families can re-feed their children especially with the training. Now I’d like to briefly explain the second and third stages of the Maudsley Method as well as some research results.

During the second phase, the anorexic adolescent is at a safe weight and the bulimic adolescent has stopped binging and purging. Now they are gradually put back in charge of their own eating program. The family no longer has to eat every meal with their adolescent. At this time, the therapy sessions still focus on weight gain and also on any problems within the family dynamic.

During the third stage sessions with the therapist and at home, the adolescent is encouraged to develop like any normal teenager. The patient should be at about 95% of her ideal weight, according to Maudsley Parents website. And parents are encouraged to work on their own relationship as well as recreating a normal relationship with their child in the absence of the eating disorder.

The research on the Maudsley Method is promising. In July of 2007, Elizabeth Bernstine of The Wall Street Jounal online, wrote that “In a study published in 2005 in a psychiatry journal, Dr. Lock reported that of 86 anorexic subjects treated with the Maudsley approach, about 90% returned to a normal weight range by 12 months and about 70% returned to normal weight and had normal psychological parameters.”

Similarly, Michael D. Anestis M. S. from Psychotherapy Brown Bag, a website that discusses science and psychology, reported on a more recent study done in Sweden, he wrote that, “32 female adolescents … and their parents received FBT. At 36-month follow-up, 75% of the participants were in full remission. In addition to the elimination of their eating disorder symptoms, the participants reported experiencing less distance from their families and a less chaotic familial environment.” Of course more research needs to be done.

My daughter’s anorexia started over nineteen years ago, and it was difficult to find an effective treatment then; we tried everything but hospitalization. She repeatedly refused.

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for helping to get the word out about Maudsley. We have found it now, thankfully, after two years of ineffective therapy. In the U.S. the standard is to have the child talk with a therapist who will try to solve issues but doesn't focus on food. This rarely, rarely works. The FBT Maudsley method is effective and is the only method with research behind it; it's crucial to get this much needed information out to families. Thank you for your significant contribution!

December 1, 2010 - 4:34pm

Thank you so much for your kind words. It's been hard for me to write about recovery, but if, as you say, my writing has brought urgency and some hope and to families, I am deeply gratified.
Mary Sornberger

December 18, 2009 - 9:25am
EmpowHER Guest

Your perspective on this illness adds a poignancy and a necessary urgency to your message. I talk with parents every day facing this illness and what they seem to need most is both urgency and HOPE. You've offered both. Thank you for this gift to families out there.

Laura Collins
F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders)

December 18, 2009 - 7:14am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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