eTherapy for Eating Disorders

Bulimia patients effectively treated with internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy

(RxWiki News) Bulimia patients who prefer their treatment to be in the comfort of their own home can safely turn to e-therapists, research reports.

Behavioral investigators at the University of Amsterdam tested internet-based cognitive therapy to prove its effectiveness in treating 105 bulimia patients.

Senior author on the study, Alfred Lange, Ph.D., a professor at U of A, believes, “This study identifies online cognitive behavioral therapy as a viable alternative in the treatment of bulimic symptoms.”

"Consider an e-therapist if you're nervous about face to face treatment."

Dr. Lange and a team of researchers randomly separated the participants into three groups: one-third received online therapy, one group performed a bibliotherapy treatment, and the final set were put on a waiting list and received no treatment.

Bibliotherapy, the practice of using books and literature to help individual’s relate to others, was performed at-home.

Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire’s (EDE-Q) were used to determine the frequency of binging /purging episodes and the Body Attitude Test illustrated the mentality of the participants. Patients were assessed before treatment, after treatment, and at a one-year follow-up appointment.

Although approximately twenty-six percent of participants dropped out of the study, those who stuck with the program vomited less and showed less subsequent damage from the eating disorder than the control groups.

“Internet-delivered treatment may provide an acceptable treatment alternative for bulimic patients who are reticent about face-to-face contact,” expressed the authors.

The overall study supports assertions that therapist-supported programs show greater treatment adherence and overall effectiveness.

The research is published on February 1, 2012 through the journal Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy with no reported funding sources or conflicts.  

Review Date: 
February 2, 2012