ERP Shows Positive Results in Patients with OCD and Eating Disorders

Posted on October 8th, 2013
Posted in Mental Health

Eating disorders tend to receive much media attention, especially when lives are lost. Individuals struggling with a distorted self-image may control their food intake at extreme levels, or binge and purge as a way of coping. As medical professionals continue to study anorexia and bulimia, the two most common eating disorders, a focus on the relationship with other disorders may prove viable.

For instance, those with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may also have an eating disorder. Therapists will generally ask if one exists with the other, but does the existence of the two dictate the treatment for one? This is one concept explored in a recent study on multimodal treatments.

According to a recent Psychiatric Times report, such a treatment program centering on cognitive-behavioral approaches with the use of exposure and response prevention (ERP) have proven to be effective in treating those individuals suffering with OCD and eating disorders at the same time. In fact, when the program was used, it significantly decreased the severity of the eating disorder and OCD. The depression that generally accompanies both disorders was also decreased.

Those participating in the study not only had OCD and an eating disorder, but also lived in a residential treatment facility. The application of ERP was focused on the eating disorder and the OCD, while participants also received medication management, a supervised eating plan and social support.

As a result of this process, marked improvements were recorded. Those suffering from both bulimia and OCD showed more improvement than those with anorexia and OCD. For those who registered as underweight at admission, BMI increased significantly.

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