Can virtual reality help with anxiety?

New research published in JMIR Mental Health has found that virtual reality (VR) may be useful in treating anxiety and depression. virtual reality can be used effectively to augment and improve traditional treatment methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. Many of those same young people could associate virtual reality with games and entertainment, but a new study published in Psychiatry Research (Monaghesh et al. According to the study, virtual reality helps patients learn to manage their symptoms in a simulation, which is transferred to the real world.

Research, studies and use of virtual reality continued. Future studies have shown that VR helps with the treatment of mental health conditions, such as phobias, anxiety and depression. An important area of focus should be “predicting who will have a positive response to virtual reality, unlike other methods,” said Albert Skip Rizzo, director of medical virtual reality at the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California. Computer scientists and medical professionals like Rothbaum must work together to create virtual scenarios that can be applied to clinical environments.

Physicians could adjust the content of these virtual scenarios by controlling the time of day, number of people, ambient sounds and more, beyond what patients could accurately conjure up in their imagination during traditional exposure therapy. This perspective document presents ways in which incorporating virtual reality (VR) into therapy can improve anxiety management. This particular form of therapy is a method in which patients are constantly exposed to a traumatic stimulus with the help of virtual environments. Due to the nature of virtual reality, patients feel an engaging and immersive experience within the virtual world, say authors.

Virtual reality therapy can connect people with unusual mental health diagnoses to specific experts who can provide them with the right therapy. More than 30,000 patients from 200 hospitals around the world have already gone through the company's virtual program. The term “virtual reality” had been coined less than a decade earlier, in 1987, by computer scientist Jaron Lanier, although cinematographer Morton Heilig created the first immersive virtual experience, known as Sensorama, in 1960. A recent study found that virtual patient simulations can be an effective tool for developing brief clinical interview skills among behavioral health providers (3).

Klock was one of 17 students who completed the Rothbaum experiment, which was the first controlled study that used virtual reality (VR) to treat a psychological disorder. In 1997, Georgia Tech researchers leveraged emerging virtual reality technology to conduct exposure therapy with veterans suffering from PTSD. Approximately six times over the course of six weeks, participants met with a virtual coach inside their head-mounted screens, who guided them through everyday scenes that would be too scary to navigate in real life, whether in a cafe, a local store, a pub, a bus, the waiting room of the doctor's office or simply opening the front door to look at the outside world. For example, they cite a study published by the Cambridge University press, in which patients were exposed to compassion and self-pity through virtual reality.

This was just the beginning of experimentation with the application of virtual reality in psychological treatments. A virtual reality training environment would allow therapists to practice repeatedly with virtual patients while mastering clinical evaluation and exposure therapy skills. .