Introduction: This study compares the differential efficacy of three groups of treatments for agoraphobia: paroxetine combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy, paroxetine combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy and virtual reality exposure, and a group with only paroxetine.
Methodology: 99 patients with agoraphobia were finally selected. Both combined treatment groups received 11 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and one of the groups was also exposed to 4 sessions of virtual reality treatment. Treatments were applied in individual sessions once a week for 3 months.
Results: The three treatment groups showed statistically significant improvements. In some measures, combined treatment groups showed greater improvements. The virtual reality exposure group showed greater improvement confronting phobic stimuli.
Conclusions: Treatments combining psychopharmacological and psychological therapy showed greater efficacy. Although the use of new technologies led to greater improvement, treatment adherence problems still remain.