Virtual reality (VR) therapy is an immersive experience that provides ease and a state of calm.
VR therapy creates a sense of immersion by creating sensory stimulation that aids in the treatment of a wide range of psychiatric disorders, with a particular focus on the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Life in the modern era has several devices and components that make everyday life easier. However, several factors today perpetuate sadness and cause anxiety. Although anxiety can be triggered by various factors, treating it with conventional means becomes less effective. A recent study on this has propelled a VR technology interface for treating mental health issues. VR therapy stimulates a standard computer-generated cognitive-behavioral model designed to treat anxiety.
Combination of VR with cognitive therapy
Cognitive therapy is the best and most documented therapy used to treat anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy combines with VR technology to challenge and change unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. Technology focuses on improving the current condition rather than finding answers to past problems. Outcome-oriented therapy helps the patient develop skills or strategies to understand and change their thoughts and behavior. Through this VR therapy, a 3D interpretation of defined situations is deliberated to the patient. The virtual experience can activate a certain part of the brain to create a real-world experience. Visual interpretation can convert an anxious thought into a normal idea or even a positive attitude. Cognitive AR therapy has been shown to be 50-75% effective in treating depression and anxiety in individuals.
VR exposure therapy
The best virtual reality intervention is VR exposure therapy (VRET). The therapy is a computer-generated simulation of behavioral provocation. In VR therapy, participants are deliberately shown an object or situation that would cause anxiety or fear. The method is gradual and repeated exposure will help the participant feel comfortable in this environment. Virtual reality allows participants to experience a stimulated condition in a safe environment, allowing them to work directly with their therapists. For example, a person with a fear of public speaking may be placed in an auditorium or hall to face their fears head-on. According to a survey conducted by Psychiatric Times, 90% of participants who had participated in exposure therapy reported a reduction in anxiety levels. Among the group, 65% of the participants no longer felt any phobia or anxiety.
Benefits of VR Therapy
Anxiety is a complex condition, the effects of which differ from one individual to another. Virtual reality allows individuals to model specific situations that trigger fear and anxiety in different contexts. It allows for fluid exposure through a safe space.
A well-designed VR treatment plan does not require medication to reduce the trauma caused by anxiety. The computer algorithm helps to gradually solve complex problems virtually.
VR therapy allows patients to continue their treatment at home. For many people, traditional therapy does not provide lasting effects, but with VR technology, the long-term effectiveness of treatment is significantly higher.
The field of virtual reality is a wide-ranging field that is constantly evolving and expanding to create accurate dynamic simulations. Accepting VR therapy to treat anxiety can take some time. As the costs of virtual reality items come down, the world is slowly moving towards acceptance of virtual reality as a new and effective way to treat depression and anxiety.