• Text size
  • A
  • A
  • A
For better health and social care

People with Eating Disorders Could Benefit from CBT and Self-Help


The NHS is considering alternative therapies, including CBT (or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), for people with eating disorders.

CBT is a talking treatment which focuses on the relationship between a person’s thoughts and their behaviour, and it is proposed that a specialised version specifically designed for people with eating disorders, is offered to adults with anorexia nervosa and children, alongside family therapy. 

Eating disorders affect a large number of the population, however with the right treatments almost half can fully recover from anorexia and many others will significantly improve. It is hoped that these alternative forms of treatment will help reduce relapse rates and aid recovery.

Guided self-help programmes, which consist of initial face-to-face meetings and later phone consultations, are suggested as an option for those with binge eating disorders. Children and young people with bulimia may also participate in focused family therapy.

As people with eating disorders may have associated complications such as osteoporosis (weakened bones) and anxiety disorders, it is recognised that collaboration across healthcare services will be important.

Find out more about these proposals on the NICE website.