Approximately 1 out of 5 adults in the United States suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, and more than two-thirds of adults are considered to be overweight and obese. It is no wonder that weight loss is a $20 billion dollar industry!
As someone who has jumped on the bandwagon of all the latest diets and weight loss trends, and I can tell you that 90% of the struggle is the mental control to make the right choices. Fortunately, as technology continues to advance, there is an innovative approach to treating those who struggle with unhealthy relationships with food.
One approach to treating this disorder is through Integrated Experiential Therapy (IET). IET was developed by Giuseppe Riva and his team inside the VREPAR and VEPSY Updated European funded project.
This treatment enhances traditional cognitive behavioral therapy with the use of a virtual environment using the cost-free NeuroVR platform. Patients go through 10 VR sessions. They wear a head-mounted VR display system while guided imagery is used to lead the person through various zones that include stimuli that contribute to abnormal eating behaviors.
Additionally, patients are also confronted with a photograph of their body and asked to identify their ideal body.
From a clinical standpoint, the use of IET produced a reduction in the number of avoidance behaviors as well as improvement in adaptive behaviors more that Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) alone. IET significantly improved both body image satisfaction and self-efficacy.