A Randomised Controlled Comparison of Second-Level Treatment Approaches for Treatment-Resistant Adults with Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder: Assessing the Benefits of Virtual Reality Cue Exposure Therapy

Marta Ferrer-García, José Gutiérrez-Maldonado, Joana Pla-Sanjuanelo, Ferran Vilalta-Abella, Giuseppe Riva, Massimo Clerici, Joan Ribas-Sabaté, Alexis Andreu-Gracia, Fernando Fernandez-Aranda, Laura Forcano, Nadine Riesco, Isabel Sánchez, Neli Escandón-Nagel, Osane Gomez-Tricio, Virginia Tena, Antonios Dakanalis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A question that arises from the literature on therapy is whether second-level treatment is effective for patients with recurrent binge eating who fail first-level treatment. It has been shown that subjects who do not stop binge eating after an initial structured cognitive-behavioural treatment (CBT) programme benefit from additional CBT (A-CBT) sessions; however, it has been suggested that these resistant patients would benefit even more from cue exposure therapy (CET) targeting features associated with poor response (e.g. urge to binge in response to a cue and anxiety experienced in the presence of binge-related cues). We assessed the effectiveness of virtual reality-CET as a second-level treatment strategy for 64 patients with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder who had been treated with limited results after using a structured CBT programme, in comparison with A-CBT. The significant differences observed between the two groups at post-treatment in dimensional (behavioural and attitudinal features, anxiety, food craving) and categorical (abstinence rates) outcomes highlighted the superiority of virtual reality-CET over A-CBT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-490
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Eating Disorders Review
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017

Keywords

  • binge eating disorders
  • bulimia nervosa
  • cue exposure
  • treatment
  • virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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