Results matter. Plain and simple, when you are looking for a treatment program to help you or a loved one recover from an eating disorder, the most important questions should be if the program can really help. Outcomes measures are the best way to truly know.
An outcomes measure is a tool used by a program to assess a client’s illness at the start of treatment and measure their improvement over time. The Body Image Therapy Center began using just such a tool in the last quarter of 2018. We chose the Change in Eating Disorders Symptoms (CHEDS), which is a 35-item self-report designed to track changes in eating disorders symptoms over the course of treatment or time. We use it to measure overall symptoms, but also to look at sub-scales including:
- Body pre-occupation
- Body dissatisfaction
- Body checking
- Binge eating
- Dietary restriction
- Food/eating preoccupation
CHEDS scores are used during the course of treatment to see if a client is improving in one area but not in another. For example, a client may have stopped bingeing and purging, but their body pre-occupation and body dissatisfaction may be getting worse. We can then target our interventions to address those areas more directly.
This week we had enough data to run our first analysis on total recovery scores to see if our clients were reaching clinically significant recovery. We looked at adult clients who entered either our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) or Partial Hospital Program (PHP), had CHEDS scores that indicated a clinically significant eating disorder, and stayed for a minimum of four weeks (n = 26). We chose four weeks as an inclusion cut-off as our experience is clients require at least that much time to assimilate into the program and begin to do the necessary clinical work toward recovery. Of that number, we found 20 clients met criteria for clinically significant recovery. This suggests The Body Image Therapy Center has an 80% success rate.
There are a number of clients who were not included in this assessment due to very short stays in treatment or failing to start treatment after their initial assessment. As any good researcher will tell you, those number still count when you dig into the medical journals. In fact, rates of recovery for adults range anywhere from 0 to 25% for anorexia, top out at 30% for bulimia, and vary widely from 18 to 86% for binge eating disorder depending on the study (Murray, 2019). Those formal studies include everyone who started treatment. Ours is not a formal study and the results are observational only.
But for the client who comes to The Body Image Therapy Center and wants help, is ready, and has the support of their loved ones, it’s clear we have the outcomes that speak to a successful recovery. As the founder and executive director, I’m incredibly proud of these early results, but especially of my team, and the resiliency of our clients.
Recovery is possible. We have proof.
Stuart B. Murray (2019): Updates in the treatment of eating disorders in 2018: A year in review in eating disorders The Journal of Treatment & Prevention, Eating Disorders, DOI: 10.1080/10640266.2019.1567155