Review of Virtual Reality Treatment in Psychiatry: Evidence Versus Current Diffusion and Use
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Purpose of Review
This review provides an overview of the current evidence base for and clinical applications of the use of virtual reality (VR) in psychiatric practice, in context of recent technological developments.
The use of VR in psychiatric practice shows promise with much of the research demonstrating clinical effectiveness for conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and phobias, chronic pain, rehabilitation, and addictions. However, more research is needed before the use of VR is considered a clinical standard of practice in some areas.
The recent release of first generation consumer VR products signals a change in the viability of further developing VR systems and applications. As applications increase so will the need for good quality research to best understand what makes VR effective, and when VR is not appropriate for clinical services. As the field progresses, it is hopeful that the flexibility afforded by this technology will yield superior outcomes and a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms impacting those outcomes.
KeywordsVirtual reality Exposure therapy Psychiatry Mental health PTSD Anxiety Phobias Chronic pain Addictions Rehabilitation
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • of importance
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