In the last 10 years therapy has taken great steps forward and nowadays we
can affirm that the majority of eating disorder patients, especially
bulimic patients can be treated with success also with a kind of
intervention of middle-short term (from 5 to 12 months of therapy). A
number of less serious cases can be treated with success with a shorter
While unfortunately there is a remarkable number of patients (mostly
affected by Anorexia Nervosa) whose physical and behavioural conditions
make it more often necessary to turn to hospital treatment that can be done
by hospitalization or day-hospital.
As to people affected by eating disorders we have not sufficient figures
to affirm a probability index, but you have seen that the majority of them
benefit in the long term from proposed therapies.
Unfortunately there are a number of eating disorder patients that do not
seem to respond to any treatment available and show a chronic trend of this
In these cases, however, recent therapeutic approaches are useful to give
these people help in crisis situations decreasing mortality index and
increasing their life quality.
The factor in common, shared by almost all these forms of therapy is
represented by the integration of different therapeutic approaches.
If a minority of people that suffer from slight forms of eating disorder
showed they reacted successfully to every kind of treatment (family
treatment, cognitive-behavioural therapy, psychodynamic therapy /
interpersonal therapy, nutritional therapy, psycho-pharmacological
therapy, help groups, etc.), in the majority of cases it is necessary to
adopt therapeutic models that face different aspects: biological,
nutritional, psychological, behavioural, interpersonal of food pathology.
Hospital therapy of more serious cases, indeed, made by multidisciplinary
teams composed of doctors, nutritionists and psychologists trained in
integrated eating disorder therapy.
This kind of integrated therapeutic intervention indeed provides for the
use of a range of therapeutic techniques that erode progressively all
maintenance factors of food pathology both from a nutritional and
character and interpersonal point of view.
Patients defined as chronic are also looked after with integrated
outpatient programs that aim to maintain a stability of medical and
psychological parameters that are compatible with a reasonable well-being.
It is important to underline the fact that in moderate or serious eating
disorder cases there is no single therapeutic approach that has
demonstrated an effectiveness which is even only slightly comparable to
that of the integrated approach.
Also different psychotropic drugs that each time are suggested for eating
disorders pharmacological therapy, were, when used alone, less effective
compared to simple psychotherapy, so this can make sense only in an
integrated therapeutic program.