Current Psychiatry Reports

, 19:80 | Cite as

Review of Virtual Reality Treatment in Psychiatry: Evidence Versus Current Diffusion and Use

  • Matthew C. MishkindEmail author
  • Aaron M. Norr
  • Andrea C. Katz
  • Greg M. Reger
Psychiatry in the Digital Age (J Shore, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Psychiatry in the Digital Age


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.

Recent Findings

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.


Virtual 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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew C. Mishkind
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aaron M. Norr
    • 2
  • Andrea C. Katz
    • 2
  • Greg M. Reger
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression CenterUniversity of Colorado School of MedicineAuroraUSA
  2. 2.VA Puget Sound Health Care SystemSeattleUSA
  3. 3.University of Washington School of MedicineSeattleUSA

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