This review focuses on the use of family-based treatment (FBT) for adolescents with eating disorders, including
anorexia nervosa (AN) and bulimia nervosa (BN). AN and BN are serious disorders with significant psychiatric and
medical morbidity. Data support the use of family treatments for adolescents with eating disorders. Developed at the
Maudsley Hospital, FBT is a theoretically agnostic approach that externalizes the illness from the patient and empowers
families to actively work to bring about recovery in their relative with an eating disorder. FBT appears to be an effective
treatment for adolescents with AN and support is developing for the treatment of adolescents with BN. Manual development
is currently underway for the implementation of FBT for young adults with eating disorders, overweight adolescents,
and those with subsyndromal AN. Further research is needed to determine the effectiveness of FBT with other populations.
In this review, we will provide a critical overview of the literature by focusing upon empirical findings regarding
FBT, with particular emphasis on studies conducted with adolescents.