A comparison study of antidepressants and structured intensive group psychotherapy in the treatment of bulimia nervosa

James E. Mitchell, Richard L. Pyle, Elke D. Eckert, Dorothy Hatsukami, Claire Pomeroy, Robert Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

217 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Previous research on the treatment of outpatients with bulimia nervosa has focused on two treatment strategies: (1) drug therapy, primarily using tricyclic antidepressants, and (2) psychotherapy, often employing behavioral and cognitive behavioral techniques. We report here the short-term treatment outcome of a 12-week comparison trial of bulimic outpatients who were randomly assigned to one of four treatment cells: (1) imipramine hydrochloride treatment, (2) placebo treatment, (3) imipramine treatment combined with intensive group psychotherapy, and (4) placebo treatment combined with intensive group psychotherapy. All three active treatment cells resulted in significant reductions in target-eating behaviors and in a significant improvement in mood relative to placebo treatment. However, the results also suggested that the amount of improvement obtained with the intensive group psychotherapy component was superior to that obtained with antidepressant treatment alone. The addition of antidepressant treatment to the intensive group psychotherapy component did not significantly improve outcome over intensive group psychotherapy combined with placebo treatment in terms of eating behavior, but did result in more improvement in the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Volume47
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Bulimia Nervosa
Group Psychotherapy
Antidepressive Agents
Therapeutics
Placebos
Imipramine
Feeding Behavior
Outpatients
Tricyclic Antidepressive Agents
Psychotherapy
Anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Mitchell, J. E., Pyle, R. L., Eckert, E. D., Hatsukami, D., Pomeroy, C., & Zimmerman, R. (1990). A comparison study of antidepressants and structured intensive group psychotherapy in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. Archives of General Psychiatry, 47(2), 149-157.

A comparison study of antidepressants and structured intensive group psychotherapy in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. / Mitchell, James E.; Pyle, Richard L.; Eckert, Elke D.; Hatsukami, Dorothy; Pomeroy, Claire; Zimmerman, Robert.

In: Archives of General Psychiatry, Vol. 47, No. 2, 1990, p. 149-157.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Mitchell, JE, Pyle, RL, Eckert, ED, Hatsukami, D, Pomeroy, C & Zimmerman, R 1990, 'A comparison study of antidepressants and structured intensive group psychotherapy in the treatment of bulimia nervosa', Archives of General Psychiatry, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 149-157.
Mitchell, James E. ; Pyle, Richard L. ; Eckert, Elke D. ; Hatsukami, Dorothy ; Pomeroy, Claire ; Zimmerman, Robert. / A comparison study of antidepressants and structured intensive group psychotherapy in the treatment of bulimia nervosa. In: Archives of General Psychiatry. 1990 ; Vol. 47, No. 2. pp. 149-157.
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