6 Mental Health Issues That VR Technology Already Helps With

Virtual reality (VR) transports you to different digital worlds, each a landscape for a specific goal, whether it’s a game or a quest. Healthcare also uses technology to treat patients, train staff, and manage day-to-day operations.

VR is especially beneficial for the psyche. It allows people living with mental health issues to practice coping techniques for different situations, while improving their mood through fun or productive activities.

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


1. Mental disorder

Studies over the past few years confirm that VR is useful in treating various forms of mental disorders. In 2020, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a review of them and revealed interesting findings.

For example, one study used 30 patients with abusive delusions to compare the effectiveness of simple virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) versus virtual reality exposure with cognitive behavioral therapy. (VRCBT).

The latter works better at reducing delusions and helping patients maintain that stability in real life.

Many such studies confirm that exposing patients to realistic yet safe scenarios can help doctors assess them through VR and headset experiences, while alleviating symptoms.

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As headsets and software like gameChange improve in comfort and therapeutic processes, it won’t be long before healthcare systems fully adopt VR therapy for mental disorders.

2. PTSD

But how does virtual reality boost mental health? For example, treating PTSD with VR involves creating simulations for the patient to experience over and over and learn to cope while the physician monitors each session.

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

One group looked at trials conducted through 2019 to evaluate VRET’s effectiveness. They published their findings in the European Journal of Psychology.


Regarding PTSD, results from 122 participants showed that VR treatment worked better than the control group in reducing the severity of symptoms.

3. Worry

Focusing on anxiety and VR’s effectiveness in treating it has also yielded positive results.

A 2021 review of 34 studies published in JMIR Mental Health found that VR can be a great aid to cognitive behavioral therapy when it comes to anxiety, as well as depression.

Whether the treatment takes place with VRET or in a virtual environment, this technology allows patients to face and relieve their anxiety in a place they know is safe.

As mentioned, exposure therapy combined with virtual reality also allows the patient to repeat the experience as needed. With software like Ovrcome, doctors can choose to simulate, tailor treatments, and closely examine a client’s response.


4. Phobias

There are plenty of apps that can help you overcome your fear of rejection or master the art of giving public presentations. However, phobias can be more complicated.

Phobias are a common type of anxiety that can take many forms. Addressing it takes courage and a process that helps you expose your fear and reduce its impact on you.

VR software like Freethink has been helpful, especially when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy. The Anxiety and Mood Disorders Treatment Center lists the main benefits of using this specialized treatment.

Essentially, VR exposure therapy allows you to 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 a busy area. forest staring at the snakes.

While the immersive nature of the virtual simulation can still trigger patients, they have the opportunity to rise to challenge after challenge. This builds confidence and the strength to break through the debilitating effects of their fear.

A trusted therapist with high-quality software can shape each experience to help people work through their phobia, but they can also unplug if a simulation becomes overwhelming.

5. Weakness

Immersion in virtual reality is what distinguishes it from conventional therapy for mental health issues.

When it comes to depression, it works especially well because it exposes patients to environments that are fun, inspiring, or simply constructive. That said, some restraint is important.

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

Its researchers have suggested a combination of low-impact virtual experiences, physical activity, and behavior-triggered methods, to encourage interaction with the real world, not isolation. establish yourself in the digital world.

While the use of VR in such treatments is increasing, such as the number of VR applications for meditation. These types of programs offer pleasant calming or stimulating experiences that can help you let go of your worries.

At the same time, companies like The Glimpse Group are adopting their VR technology for telemedicine and support. In other words, the foundation is there, so fully merging virtual reality with depression therapy won’t be a huge leap.

6. Addiction

Addiction is often associated with anxiety and depression, creating a vicious cycle of triggers. Virtual reality-based therapy can reduce their negative effects and teach you methods to stay calm and confident when cravings strike.

The technology is already being used as an experimental treatment at the American Rehabilitation Center. It attempts to reduce anxiety along with addiction by tailoring the virtual environment to the needs of each individual patient and teaching them how to deal with real-life stressors.

The immersive nature of the experience makes it very engaging as patients complete tasks and practice self-soothing techniques, such as meditation and controlled breathing. Eventually, patients will be able to regulate their own emotions and counteract triggers.

While still evolving as a form of mental health treatment, VR has proven itself to be a valuable tool in reducing addiction, as well as the many associated stressors.

Learn more about VR technology’s place in healthcare

Thanks to VR innovation, patients and professionals have a safe and productive environment to work in. As evidence of the usefulness of technology in mental health therapy grows, more and more medical institutions are accepting it.

But treatment isn’t the only thing VR is good at. Discover how technology benefits other areas of healthcare, from doctor-patient interactions to surgical training.


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9 ways Virtual Reality (VR) is improving healthcare right now

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Sarah Ridley

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