Effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in eating disorders: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews
Eating disorders are psychiatric conditions originated from and perpetuated by individual, family and sociocultural factors. The psychosocial approach to treatment and prevention of relapse is crucial. To present an overview of the scientific evidence on effectiveness of psychosocial interventions in treatment of eating disorders. All systematic reviews published by the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews – Cochrane Library on the topic were included. Afterwards, as from the least recent date of these reviews (2001), an additional search was conducted at PubMed with sensitive search strategy and with the same keywords used. A total of 101 primary studies and 30 systematic reviews (5 Cochrane systematic reviews), meta-analysis, guidelines or narrative reviews of literature were included. The main outcomes were: symptomatic remission, body image, cognitive distortion, psychiatric comorbidity, psychosocial functioning and patient satisfaction. The cognitive behavioral approach was the most effective treatment, especially for bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and the night eating syndrome. For anorexia nervosa, the family approach showed greater effectiveness. Other effective approaches were interpersonal psychotherapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, support therapy and self-help manuals. Moreover, there was an increasing number of preventive and promotional approaches that addressed individual, family and social risk factors, being promising for the development of positive self-image and self-efficacy. Further studies are required to evaluate the impact of multidisciplinary approaches on all eating disorders, as well as the cost-effectiveness of some effective modalities, such as the cognitive behavioral therapy.