VR-based therapy can do wonders for patients with social anxiety disorders

There’s no doubt that Virtual Reality (VR) is a technological game-changer, but new research shows that it could also become a breakthrough in treating mental health problems. According to a recent study, combining cognitive-behavioral therapy with VR technology could help people suffering from social anxiety disorder. In the study, psychotherapists provided cognitive behavioral therapy to 15 patients with generalized social anxiety disorder. This type of treatment often involves exposing patients to situations that provoke their anxiety, making some of them reluctant to undergo such therapies due to feelings of unsafety. But for the study, this was accomplished with the aid of VR technology, which facilitated the perfect safe environment for practice. After attending up to 16 one-hour VR sessions, patients reported less anxiety at social encounters, less paranoia in everyday life, less social interaction anxiety, fewer depressive symptoms, and overall improved quality of life. The findings provide some initial evidence that virtual reality-based therapy can be effective in the treatment of social anxiety.

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