Carlos M. Grilo

Treatment of Eating Disorders: Current Status, Challenges, and Future Directions

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology
  • General Medicine

Specific psychological treatments have demonstrated efficacy and represent the first-line approaches recommended for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder. Unfortunately, many patients, particularly those with anorexia nervosa, do not derive sufficient benefit from existing treatments, and better or alternative treatments for eating disorders are needed. Less progress has been made in developing pharmacologic options for eating disorders. No medications approved for anorexia nervosa exist, and only one each exists for bulimia nervosa and for binge-eating disorder; available data indicate that most patients fail to benefit from available medications. Longer and combined treatments have generally not enhanced outcomes. This review presents emerging findings from more complex and clinically relevant adaptive treatment designs, as they offer some clinical guidance and may serve as models for future enhanced treatment research. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, Volume 20 is May 2024. Please see for revised estimates.

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