Binge-eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN) have adverse psychological and medical consequences. Innovative interventions, like the integration of virtual reality (VR) with cue-exposure therapy (VR-CET), enhance outcomes for refractory patients compared to cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Little is known about the feasibility and acceptability of translating VR-CET into real-world settings. To investigate this question, adults previously treated for BED or BN with at least one objective or subjective binge episode/week were recruited from an outpatient university eating disorder clinic to receive up to eight weekly one-hour VR-CET sessions. Eleven of 16 (68.8%) eligible patients were enrolled; nine (82%) completed treatment; and 82% (9/11) provided follow-up data 7.1 (SD = 2.12) months post-treatment. Overall, participant and therapist acceptability of VR-CET was high. Intent-to-treat objective binge episodes (OBEs) decreased significantly from 3.3 to 0.9/week (p < 0.001). Post-treatment OBE 7-day abstinence rate for completers was 56%, with 22% abstinent for 28 days at follow-up. Among participants purging at baseline, episodes decreased from a mean of one to zero/week, with 100% abstinence maintained at follow-up. The adoption of VR-CET into real-world clinic settings appears feasible and acceptable, with a preliminary signal of effectiveness. Findings, including some loss of treatment gains during follow-up may inform future treatment development.
View details for DOI 10.3390/jcm10071511
View details for PubMedID 33916374