Cognitive-behavior therapy with eating disorders: The role of medications in treatment

Wayne A. Bowers, Arnold E. Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Cognitive-behavioral therapy has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of bulimia nervosa, but there is less empirical data on its usefulness with anorexia nervosa or binge-eating disorder. The use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is recommended as the first line of treatment for bulimia nervosa and strongly recommended in combination when medications alone have not been effective. Combined treatment also improves symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and dietary restriction. Empirical studies support the usefulness of CBT with binge-eating disorder and suggest higher remission rates with combined treatment. No single psychotherapy or medicine alone is effective in treating anorexia nervosa. CBT is typically used as part of a comprehensive treatment program with nutritional rehabilitation and prudent use of medication. Both CBT and medication may have benefits in maintaining gains for anorexia nervosa patients after inpatient treatment. More research on CBT alone and in combination with medication is needed to adequately understand the respective roles of these therapies in a comprehensive treatment of eating disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-27
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychotherapy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Cognitive therapy
  • Combined treatment
  • Eating disorders
  • Medications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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