Early intervention pathway

All eating disorder referrals will be assessed for need and seen as appropriate. We can also provide a liaison service to referrers for advice and consultation.

Early Intervention (EI) aims to create a patient-centred treatment pathway, designed with the specific needs of this often young, recent onset population in mind. A key part of this is rapid allocation to an evidence –based psychological treatment intervention.  We aim for EI patients to start their primary intervention within four weeks of their assessment (six weeks from the referral date). The specific nature of the evidence-based primary intervention offered within the EI framework may differ somewhat depending on the age and/or developmental stage of the person. Given available evidence and NICE recommendations, for young adults with bulimic disorders (bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder) the treatment of choice is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), delivered as guided self-help via a manual or individually face-to-face. For young people with bulimic eating disorders, family therapy may constitute an alternative primary intervention.

For young adults with anorexia nervosa, family therapy and evidence-based individual therapies can equally be used, such as CBT or Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT). Sessions with family members/carers are an integral part of treatment. For young people presenting with EDNOS/OSFED the type of intervention and intensity will depend on clinical need, availability and patient preference. For all patients, pharmacotherapy (for example, antidepressants) is added as appropriate.

Some important EI-specific adaptations of treatment delivery include an emphasis on early nutritional change, increased family involvement where appropriate, focus on transition management,  technology being used as a means to engage patients.

Contact details:

Address: Vincent Square Eating Disorder Service, 1 Nightingale Place, London SW10 9NG
Phone: 020 3315 2104

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