Assessing the impact of First Episode Rapid Early Intervention for Eating Disorders on duration of untreated eating disorder: A multi‐centre quasi‐experimental study.

Flynn, M., Austin, A., Lang, K., Allen, K., Bassi, R., Brady, G., Brown, A., Connan, F., Franklin‐Smith, M., Glennon, D., Grant, N., Jones, W.R., Kali, K., Koskina, A., Mahony, K., Mountford, V., Nunes, N., Schelhase, M., Serpell, L., & Schmidt, U. (202

European Eating Disorders Review



Background: Duration of untreated eating disorder (DUED), that is,
the time between illness onset and start of first evidence‐based
treatment, is a key outcome for early intervention. Internationally,
reported DUED ranges from 2.5 to 6 years for different eating disorders
(EDs). To shorten DUED, we developed FREED (First Episode Rapid Early
Intervention for EDs), a service model and care pathway for emerging
adults with EDs. Here, we assess the impact of FREED on DUED in a
multi‐centre study using a quasi‐experimental design. Methods: Two hundred and seventy‐eight patients aged 16–25,
with first episode illness of less than 3 years duration, were recruited
from specialist ED services and offered treatment via FREED. These were
compared to 224 patients, of similar age and illness duration, seen
previously in participating services (treatment as usual [TAU]) on DUED,
waiting times and treatment uptake. Results: FREED patients had significantly shorter DUED and
waiting times than TAU patients. On average, DUED was reduced by ∼4
months when systemic delays were minimal. Furthermore, 97.8% of FREED
patients took up treatment, versus 75.4% of TAU. Discussion: Findings indicate that FREED significantly improves
access to treatment for emerging adults with first episode ED. FREED may
reduce distress, prevent deterioration and facilitate recovery.

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