- February 10, 2023
- Posted by: Sharlene Stevens
- Category: Innovation
Virtual reality is being utilized to treat various mental health conditions, such as phobias, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The primary advantage of VR therapy is its accessibility; it’s more affordable and convenient than in-person treatments, making it a great alternative for those who would otherwise be unable to access therapy services due to cost or location reasons.
Psychologists are now employing virtual reality therapy (VRET) to treat people with phobias. This technique places patients in simulated environments where they can confront their fears at any intensity level.
Exposure therapy, which involves repeatedly exposing patients to their triggers in a controlled environment, has its risks and practicalities; this approach helps people build tolerance for their fears and reduce anxiety levels.
VR treatment involves donning a helmet-like device that replicates the inside of an airplane cabin. The client views video footage of their cabin onscreen and has the option to turn around and look out the window or across the aisle.
Clients are guided through the experience by a therapist, who helps them conquer one portion of their phobias before moving on to the next one.
Virtual reality therapy is effective for treating a variety of mental health conditions. It particularly works well to alleviate anxiety disorders like acrophobia and flight phobia.
Anxiety disorders are unfortunately, common and difficult to diagnose and treat. Not only can they be debilitating, but they also have a significant impact on quality of life.
Studies have demonstrated that VR exposure therapy (VRET) can effectively reduce anxiety and improve symptoms for individuals suffering from various anxiety disorders.
VRET utilizes a computer program that creates an anxiety-provoking situation that patients view repeatedly to reduce their stress levels and develop coping skills.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Virtual reality therapy (VRT) is an experimental type of exposure therapy that utilizes computer technology to recreate situations and objects that cause anxiety or fear in those suffering from mental health conditions. For instance, it may recreate the sounds and sights of military combat for those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
VRET differs from traditional prolonged exposure therapy in that it’s flexible and can be tailored by the therapist to include stimuli relevant to a person’s traumatic experience. Additionally, it can be used to treat phobias by safely confronting clients with situations they are afraid of – like flying.
This treatment can help alleviate PTSD symptoms in those who have endured military-related trauma. It also assists with the development of coping skills to enable individuals with PTSD to cope better with their experience.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that causes people to have persistent thoughts, images or urges that can be distressing. While there is no underlying medical cause of OCD, certain stressors may exacerbate its symptoms.
Doctors typically prescribe medications and psychotherapy to treat OCD. Drugs such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are frequently employed to reduce symptoms associated with OCD.
These medications may take up to 12 weeks to work, although some patients report improvement within a few weeks. Other antidepressants like fluoxetine and sertraline can also be utilized for treating OCD.
Another treatment option is deep brain stimulation (DBS). This procedure involves inserting electrodes into the brain and has been approved for adults who don’t respond to traditional treatments.
Autism, a mental health condition primarily affecting children, is one of the most frequently treated with virtual reality. VR can help autistic individuals acquire new skills, comprehend their environment more deeply, and manage their emotions more effectively.
Researchers have demonstrated the efficacy of virtual reality (VR) therapy for treating phobias in autism. This approach involves creating a customized virtual reality environment tailored to each patient’s specific phobia.
Studies are now proving that virtual reality (VR) can be effective in relieving phobias and improving lives for people living with autism, particularly for those who struggle to manage stressful situations.