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Mental health
When compared to comparator treatment, specialist interventions for anorexia nervosa are more effective in reducing weight-based symptoms, but not psychological symptoms
  1. Kirsty E Fishburn
  1. Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull, Hull, UK
  1. Correspondence to Kirsty E Fishburn, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, UK; k.fishburn{at}

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Commentary on: Murray SB, Quintana DS, Loeb KL, et al. Treatment outcomes for anorexia nervosa: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Psychol Med 2018;13:1–10. doi: 10.1017/S0033291718002088.

Implications for practice and research

  • While specialist interventions may relieve weight-based symptoms in people with anorexia nervosa (AN) in the short term, they have little advantage over comparator treatments in relation to psychological symptoms.

  • Further exploration is required into the experiences of people with AN receiving treatment interventions.


AN is a well-established mental health diagnosis that affects men and women from across the lifespan.1 Identifying and delivering effective treatment is often challenging, and AN can cause loss of life in up to 1 in 10 people who are diagnosed with it,2 due in part, to increased suicidality rates. The measurement of treatment effectiveness on symptoms is not always best explored during …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.