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How Treatment Plans Differ for Anorexia Compared to Bulimia – An Interview With Dr. Sarah Ravin

More Love Asked: Dr. Ravin, can you tell us how you approach Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa from an evidence-based treatment standpoint? How similar/dissimilar are they from each other?

Response from Dr. Ravin: I approach Anorexia Nervosa (Anorexia) and Bulimia Nervosa (Bulimia) from an evidence-based treatment standpoint by keeping up to date on the latest scientific research on these conditions and applying the science to the treatment of each patient, as appropriate for their individual needs.

For Anorexia, research has clearly demonstrated that full nutrition and prompt, complete weight restoration are the essential first step in treating the illness, and for children and adolescents, parents are typically in the best and most logical position to help their children achieve full nutrition and weight restoration. Therefore, I typically recommend Family-Based Treatment (FBT), which has been shown to be more effective than individual treatment for adolescents suffering from Anorexia.

For parents seeking resources for Anorexia, Dr. Ravin recommends FEAST and MANTRA.

For Bulimia, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective intervention. Family-Based Treatment (FBT) has also been shown to be effective for adolescents with Bulimia.  Sometimes I will combine CBT and FBT for BN by providing the patient with both individual sessions (to identify and challenge distorted thoughts and behavioral patterns around food, weight, and body image) and family sessions (to help the family understand the illness and support their child effectively, coach them around providing supported meals and post-meal support to prevent purging).

For parents seeking resources for Bulimia, in addition to FEAST and MANTRA, Dr. Ravin recommends Becky Henry’s book “Just Tell Her to Stop.”


Sarah K. Ravin, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist with a private practice in Coral Gables, Florida. She specializes in working with patients between the ages of 10 and 25 who struggle with eating disorders, body image issues, depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and self-injury.

For More Information, Visit Dr. Ravin’s Website 

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