Cognitive remediation not as effective for treating anorexia nervosa and obsessive-compulsive disorder

As a common form of therapy often used to treat anorexia nervosa (AN), new research now suggests that cognitive remediation may not be as effective as previously thought.

In a recent study, published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, a team of researchers found that specialized attention therapy followed by treatment as usual (TAU) was more beneficial for patients with anorexia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Their findings involved 71 adult participants with OCD and 61 with anorexia.

“71 adult patients with OCD and 61 with AN were randomized to ten twice-weekly sessions with either cognitive remediation therapy or specialized attention therapy, followed by TAU. Patients were evaluated at baseline, post-intervention, and after six and 12 months,” according to a news release.

The findings showed that cognitive remediation therapy + TAU was less effective compared to specialized attention therapy + TAU in diminishing symptoms associated with OCD and anorexia.

“The goal of the study was to compare the effectiveness of cognitive remediation therapy and a control treatment not aimed at enhancing flexibility, named specialized attention therapy, as add-ons to TAU,” the co-authors wrote in their findings.

“Results showed that at the group level, both interventions were effective, with analyses revealing large effect sizes for both treatment combinations,” the co-authors concluded.

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