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Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Anxiety Disorders

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Abstract

Anxiety disorders, including phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder, are common and disabling disorders that often involve avoidance behavior. Cognitive-behavioral treatments, specifically imaginal and in vivo forms of exposure therapy, have been accepted and successful forms of treatment for these disorders. Virtual reality exposure therapy, an alternative to more traditional exposure-based therapies, involves immersion in a computer-generated virtual environment that minimizes avoidance and facilitates emotional processing. In this article, we review evidence on the application of virtual reality exposure therapy to the treatment of specific phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder and discuss its advantages and cautions.

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Disclosure

Dr. Rothbaum is a consultant to and owns equity in Virtually Better, which is developing products related to the VR research described in this article. The terms of this arrangement have been reviewed and approved by Emory University in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies. No other potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.

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Correspondence to Barbara Olasov Rothbaum.

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Gerardi, M., Cukor, J., Difede, J. et al. Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Other Anxiety Disorders. Curr Psychiatry Rep 12, 298–305 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-010-0128-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-010-0128-4

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