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Relapse rates for individuals with anorexia nervosa after intensive hospital treatment (in-patient or full-time day care) are high. Better knowledge about the difficulties and opportunities that arise during this transition is needed to identify factors that support or hinder continued recovery upon discharge.
The aim of this study was to explore the experiences of adult patients and their chosen carers on the process of transitioning from intensive eating disorder treatment settings to the community.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients with anorexia nervosa (n = 11) discharged from day or in-patient care from specialised eating disorder units across the UK, and their chosen carers (n = 20). Data were analysed with inductive thematic analysis.
Four interrelated themes were identified for both groups. For patients, themes were continuity of care, ambivalence about continued recovery, the value of social support and a call for enhanced transition support. For carers, themes were the impact of the eating disorder on themselves and the family, perceptions of recovery and support post-discharge, the impact of previous treatment and care experiences, and desire to create a supportive transition process.
The study provides an insight into the unique challenges that individuals with anorexia nervosa face upon leaving intensive treatment. A lack of post-discharge planning, support system and identity formation outside of anorexia nervosa were perceived as barriers to continued recovery. Patients and carers advocated for transition support that incorporates a phased, inclusive approach with accessible professional and social support in the community.
This trial examined the feasibility, acceptability, and effect sizes of clinical outcomes of an intervention that combines inhibitory control training (ICT) and implementation intentions (if-then planning) to target binge eating and eating disorder psychopathology.
Seventy-eight adult participants with bulimia nervosa or binge eating disorder were randomly allocated to receive food-specific, or general, ICT and if-then planning for 4 weeks.
Recruitment and retention rates at 4 weeks (97.5% and 79.5%, respectively) met the pre-set cut-offs. The pre-set adherence to the intervention was met for the ICT sessions (84.6%), but not for if-then planning (53.4%). Binge eating frequency and eating disorder psychopathology decreased in both intervention groups at post-intervention (4 weeks) and follow-up (8 weeks), with moderate to large effect sizes. There was a tendency for greater reductions in binge eating frequency and eating disorders psychopathology (i.e. larger effect sizes) in the food-specific intervention group. Across both groups, ICT and if-then planning were associated with small-to-moderate reductions in high energy-dense food valuation (post-intervention), food approach (post-intervention and follow-up), anxiety (follow-up), and depression (follow-up). Participants indicated that both interventions were acceptable.
The study findings reveal that combined ICT and if-then planning is associated with reductions in binge eating frequency and eating disorder psychopathology and that the feasibility of ICT is promising, while improvements to if-then planning condition may be needed.
Outpatient interventions for adult anorexia nervosa typically have a modest impact on weight and eating disorder symptomatology. This study examined whether adding a brief online intervention focused on enhancing motivation to change and the development of a recovery identity (RecoveryMANTRA) would improve outcomes in adults with anorexia nervosa.
Participants with anorexia nervosa (n = 187) were recruited from 22 eating disorder outpatient services throughout the UK. They were randomised to receiving RecoveryMANTRA in addition to treatment as usual (TAU) (n = 99; experimental group) or TAU only (n = 88; control group). Outcomes were measured at end-of-intervention (6 weeks), 6 and 12 months.
Adherence rates to RecoveryMANTRA were 83% for the online guidance sessions and 77% for the use of self-help materials (workbook and/or short video clips). Group differences in body mass index at 6 weeks (primary outcome) were not significant. Group differences in eating disorder symptoms, psychological wellbeing and work and social adjustment (at 6 weeks and at follow-up) were not significant, except for a trend-level greater reduction in anxiety at 6 weeks in the RecoveryMANTRA group (p = 0.06). However, the RecoveryMANTRA group had significantly higher levels of confidence in own ability to change (p = 0.02) and alliance with the therapist at the outpatient service (p = 0.005) compared to the control group at 6 weeks.
Augmenting outpatient treatment for adult anorexia nervosa with a focus on recovery and motivation produced short-term reductions in anxiety and increased confidence to change and therapeutic alliance.
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