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What Is the Best Adolescent Eating Disorder Treatment?

Learn about the best adolescent eating disorder treatment from Allegra Broft, M.D. in this Howcast video.


If you're wondering what is the best adolescent eating disorder treatment option, on the one hand there's no one treatment option for adolescents, or for anyone, that works perfectly well for everybody. On the other hand we do have some good scientific clinical research in eating disorders that does give some support to certain types of treatments for eating disorders specific to adolescent treatment.

One example of that is actually a type of family therapy for anorexia nervosa in adolescents. It's sometimes referred to as the Maudsley method of family therapy. Maudsley because it was developed in England at the Maudsley center. In brief, what this treatment entails is basically working with the family to empower the family, and usually specifically the parents, to take control of the eating within the family, and sort of help structure meal times and eating so that a child or adolescent is moving along the process of eating disorder recovery and normalizing their eating.

This treatment is sometimes a surprise to some people. Older approaches to eating disorders treatment took a look at things like, oh the parents might be causing eating problems, and are trying to control eating too much, and the eating problem is a reaction to that, and we should take parents out of the picture. The Maudsley method really sort of turns that on its head and says, look, if you're a parent and you're watching your kid waste away of cancer, would you sit back and allow the child to keep going about their business, or would you sort of step in and try to intervene in a constructive way. Of course, what the family therapy tries to do is help that intervention by parents happen in a constructive way and not a destructive way.

So, that's one type of adolescent eating disorder treatment that has some good scientific evidence behind it for anorexia nervosa and why I mention it in particular. But, other types of treatment might also be appropriate for you as an adolescent or for your loved one depending on the specific clinical circumstances and the specific type of eating problem that's going on.

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