Assessing the Impact of Weighted Blankets on Anxiety Among Patients With Anorexia Nervosa and Avoidant- Restrictive Food Intake Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Am J Occup Ther. 2022 Nov 1;76(6):7606205100. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2022.049295.


IMPORTANCE: Interventions to reduce anxiety are needed for patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and avoidant- restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). Weighted blankets are one such intervention.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of weighted blankets on anxiety for patients with AN and ARFID.

DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial conducted between November 2018 and March 2019. Patients were randomized into the control group or the intervention group.

SETTING: Inpatient setting; medical stabilization unit.

PARTICIPANTS: Patients (N = 23) diagnosed with AN or ARFID and experiencing moderate anxiety. The majority were female (91%), with a mean age of 26 yr (SD = 9.3), and the mean length of hospitalization was 22 days (SD = 17.3).

INTERVENTIONS: Control group participants received usual care, which included occupational therapy services. Intervention group participants received a weighted blanket along with usual care.

OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Mixed-effects regression models were conducted. Primary outcomes included improvement in Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scores by discharge.

RESULTS: Intervention group patients had a greater, non-statistically significant decrease in BAI score over time (B = 1.16, p = .83) than control group patients.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Weighted blankets may be an effective tool for reducing anxiety among patients with AN or ARFID. What This Article Adds: The use of a weighted blanket, in conjunction with occupational therapy interventions, is potentially a beneficial non-pharmacological option for patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID). The current study adds an additional modality to the multidisciplinary treatment approach for eating disorders.

PMID:36622934 | DOI:10.5014/ajot.2022.049295

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