6 Mental Health Issues That Virtual Reality Technology Has Already Aided | Health and Technology

6 Mental Health Issues That Virtual Reality Technology Has Already Aided | Health and Technology
6 Mental Health Issues That Virtual Reality Technology Has Already Aided 

6 Mental Health Issues That VR Technology Already Helps

Having good mental health is important if you want to be successful in any area of life, and some VR technologies are helping in this regard.

Virtual Reality (VR) transports you into different digital worlds, each a scenario for a specific purpose, be it a game or a task. Healthcare also uses technology to treat patients, train staff, and manage day-to-day jobs.

VR particularly benefits psychology. It allows people struggling with mental health problems to practice techniques for a variety of situations, while also improving their mood through fun or productive activities.

Here are the key areas of mental health where VR technology is making a difference.

1. Psychosis

Studies from the past few years confirm that VR is useful in the treatment of various forms of psychosis. In 2020, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published their review and revealed interesting findings.

For example, one study used 30 patients with persecution delusions to directly compare the effectiveness of VR exposure therapy (VRET) versus VR exposure with cognitive behavioral therapy (VRCBT).

The latter worked better at reducing confusion and helping patients maintain that stability in real life.

Much research like this confirms that immersing patients in realistic yet safe scenarios can help doctors assess them through a VR experience and headset while at the same time alleviating symptoms.

As headsets and software such as gamechanges improve in terms of comfort and therapeutic procedures, it will not take long for health care systems to fully adopt VR therapy for psychosis.



But how does virtual reality promote mental health? Treating PTSD with VR, for example, involves creating a simulation for the patient to experience it over and over again and learn how to deal with it while the doctor supervises each session.

The growing interest in incorporating VR technology into treatment comes from a variety of trials and studies that have put VR exposure therapy to the test as an effective tool in healthcare.

One team looked at experiments conducted up to 2019 to assess the efficacy of VRET. They published their findings in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology.

With regard to PTSD, the results of the 122 participants showed that VR treatment worked better than the control groups in reducing the severity of symptoms.

3. Anxiety

There were also positive results for the effectiveness of VR in addressing and treating anxiety.

A 2021 review of 34 studies published in JMIR Mental Health found that VR may very well support cognitive behavioral therapy when treating anxiety, as well as depression.

Whether treatment is with VRET or in a virtual environment, technology allows patients to face their anxiety and reduce their anxiety where they know it is safe.

As already mentioned, exposure therapy in association with virtual reality also allows the patient to replicate the experience as needed. With software like Overcome, doctors can choose to simulate, customize treatments, and closely examine their clients' responses.

4. Phobia

Plenty of apps can help you overcome your fear of rejection or master the scary art of public speaking. However, phobias can be more complex.

Phobias are a common type of anxiety that can take many forms. Resolving it requires courage and a process that exposes you to your fear and minimizes its impact on you.

VR software like Freethink already helps, especially when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. The Center for the Treatment of Anxiety and Mood Disorders lists the major benefits of using this particular treatment.

Basically, VR exposure therapy lets you challenge yourself from the safety of a doctor's office while your mind is in an elevator, behind the wheel on a busy highway, or in the woods while staring at snakes.

While the immersive nature of virtual simulations can still trigger patients, they get to overcome one challenge after another. It builds confidence and strength to break through the debilitating effects of their fears.

A trusted therapist with high-quality software on hand can shape each experience to ease people through their fears, but they can also pull the plug if the simulation becomes overwhelming.

5. Depression

Immersion in virtual reality is what sets it apart from general therapy for mental health issues.

When it comes to depression, it works especially well because it gets patients into fun, motivating, or simply creative environments. That said, some moderation is important.

A 2019 paper published in Front Psychiatry discussed how VR could effectively incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy techniques for depression.

Its researchers suggest a combination of low-impact virtual experiences, physical activity and behavioral activation methods that encourage engagement with the real world, rather than isolating themselves in the digital.

For example, as the use of VR in such treatments increases, so does the number of VR apps for meditation. These types of programs provide calming or pleasantly stimulating experiences that can take your mind off your troubles.

Plus, companies like The Glimpse Group apply their VR technology to remote therapy and support. In other words, the foundation is there, so completely merging virtual reality with depression therapy won't be a huge leap forward.


    6. Addiction

    Addiction is often associated with anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle of triggers. VR-based therapy can reduce their negative impact and teach you ways to stay calm and confident when you're hungry.

    The technology is already in use as an experimental treatment in US recovery centers. It seeks to reduce anxiety as well as addiction, creating virtual environments tailored to each patient's needs and teaching them how to deal with stress in real life.

    The immersive nature of the experience makes it very engaging as the patient completes tasks and practices self-soothing techniques such as meditation and breath control. Ultimately, the patient should be able to control their emotions and resist triggers.

    Despite being developed as a form of mental health treatment, VR is already proving to be a valuable tool in reducing addiction as well as many of its associated stressors.

    Learn More About the Place of VR Technology in Healthcare

    Thanks to VR innovation, patients and professionals have a safe and productive environment to work in. As evidence of technology's usefulness in mental health therapy grows, more and more medical organizations will adopt it.

    But the cure isn't the only thing VR is good for. Find out how technology benefits other areas of healthcare, from doctor-patient interactions to surgery training.

    Source: makeuseof.com, directnews99.site