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Cognitive behaviour therapy for eating disorders 

Cognitive behaviour therapy for eating disorders
Cognitive behaviour therapy for eating disorders

Zafra Cooper

, Rebecca Murphy

, and Christopher G. Fairburn

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date: 23 May 2022

The eating disorders provide one of the strongest indications for cognitive behaviour therapy. This bold claim arises from the demonstrated effectiveness of cognitive behaviour therapy in the treatment of bulimia nervosa and the widespread acceptance that cognitive behaviour therapy is the treatment of choice. Cognitive behaviour therapy is also widely used to treat anorexia nervosa although this application has not been adequately evaluated. Recently its use has been extended to ‘eating disorder not otherwise specified’ (eating disorder NOS), a diagnosis that applies to over 50 per cent of cases, and emerging evidence suggests that it is just as effective with these cases as it is with cases of bulimia nervosa. In this chapter the cognitive behavioural approach to the understanding and treatment of eating disorders will be described. The data on the efficacy and effectiveness of the treatment are considered in the chapters on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa (see Chapters 4.10.1 and 4.10.2 respectively), as is their general management.

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