Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa Programme

Following the results of the “Treating severe and enduring anorexia nervosa: a randomized clinical trial” this new dedicated service has been introduced to Nightingale Hospital London.

Many NHS services find it difficult to treat severe and enduring anorexia, resulting in patients often being treated by GPs or other generic services. The Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa trial conclusively shows that patients can benefit from outpatient treatment, improving self-esteem and self-worth whilst addressing low mood and improving quality of life.

The programme focuses on quality of life, rather than weight, though all patients who have received the treatment gained some weight. 85% of study participants completed their eating disorder treatment – almost three times the usual retention rate and all described improved quality of life, pursuing more meaningful lives after treatment.

This is the first treatment that has been shown to be effective in enduring anorexia and is only available at Nightingale Hospital London.

Who is the anorexia service for?

The programme has been developed for people who have suffered from severe anorexia for at least seven years. It is likely that they will be:

  • Ambivalence about change and be phobic of normal body weight
  • Ego-synchronically attached to low weight
  • Had repeat hospital admissions or treatments
  • Have little or no or fluctuating motivation to change

What does the anorexia service consist of?

The patient receives a Specialist Supportive Clinical Management (SSCM), which is adapted completely to the individual needs of the patient. Experienced therapists trained to competence by Professor Lacey and supervised by him provide the weekly sessions. The programme consists of 25 fifty-minute sessions spread over six to eight months. It is preceded by an eating disorder assessment by Professor Lacey and one or two check-ups.

The primary aim is an improvement in quality of life as defined by the patient and improvement in general mental health particularly mood and social adjustment. Secondary aims include weight gain and a motivation to change habits away from the anorexia fixations. Eating disorder participants in the study showed significant improvement in all aims.

If you cannot find the information you need on the Severe and Enduring Anorexia Nervosa Programme we would welcome your call so you feel secure in the decisions you make.