Virtual Reality Shows Potential for Treating Eating Disorders

Virtual reality technology continues to make inroads in the healthcare industry. Various therapies focus their attention on VR to provide an immersive experience. Therapists are now tapping into this technology to treat eating disorders. Treating anorexia and bulimia requires a confronting therapy first and foremost.

Another Therapeutic VR Venture

The immersive nature of virtual reality allows for the creation of many different experiences. In the world of therapy, there are a lot of options to explore. Treating a fear of phobia with VR is very different from addressing pressing issues such as anorexia and bulimia. Therapists are now exploring new treatments in this regard, as they want to provide better assistance to their patients accordingly.

Several therapists are approaching this concept from unique angles. One individual is using cognitive behavioral therapy combined with VR to help patients relax. The same technology is then used to show them an environment which will be far more confronting. Most people who suffer from anorexia and bulimia have a legitimate fear of eating, especially when other people are watching. Overcoming that mental hurdle requires the use of more immersive technologies.

An added benefit for therapists is how they can control the environment within their own office. Moreover, it allows therapists to go through the entire “desensitizing process” with relative ease. In a controlled environment, it becomes easier to monitor patients’ stress levels and modify their perception of reality.

Further testing and research are still required to determine if VR can help treat eating disorders. It is seemingly more effective than other treatments with a near 90% success rate. Although this study represents a very small sample size, it shows there is a lot of potential merit associated with this new way of treating eating disorder. Patients need to be willing to change their behavior first and foremost. Virtual reality confronts users with their current situation and provokes a spark to make change happen.

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By JP Buntinx

JP Buntinx is a FinTech, VR, and Bitcoin enthusiast living in Belgium.