Researchers advise combining cognitive-behavioral therapy and virtual reality to treat anorexia nervosa

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Researchers from the Ruhr University of Bochum (Germany) have advised, in a study published in the «International Journal of Eating Disorders», combine cognitive behavioral therapy with virtual reality to treat anorexia nervosa.

Distorted perception of one’s own body is a characteristic symptom of anorexia nervosa. It has been known for a long time that patients overestimate their body dimensions, which is why experts have wanted to see what is the best approach to treat this problem.

To do this, they analyzed 23 people with anorexia nervosa and compared them with 23 others who were healthy. All of them were asked to pass through doors of different sizes and whose width was adapted to the year of the participants’ shoulders.

The researchers then observed how wide the gate the participants turned sideways to pass. In this way, they showed that people with anorexia nervosa turned their shoulders more at the doors that were wider than those who were healthy.

«This shows us that they unconsciously think that their body proportions are larger than they really are », have detailed the experts, who have advised using virtual reality together with cognitive-behavioral therapy to adapt the “possibly obsolete” body scheme that patients with anorexia nervosa have.

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