Mental illness affects one in four people across the world, making it one of the most pressing issues of our day. The prevalence of wars, economic instability, social tensions, and instances of random violence across the globe have pushed many past the point where they can cope effectively. For those who seek therapeutic solutions to restore their emotional wellbeing, virtual reality therapy offers new hope.
Like conventional anxiety-treatment methods, VR Therapy works by exposing patients to their anxiety triggers within a controlled environment. As with any exposure therapy, the objective is to condition patients to respond positively to events that bring about their particular anxiety, rather than experiencing physiological stress associated with the original trauma that caused their anxiety disorder. However, the immersive and interactive power of VR offers numerous benefits beyond conventional treatment methods:
- VR technology enables mental health practitioners to design highly individualized treatment plans based on the unique needs of their patients.
- VR Therapy is superior to conventional treatment methods in allowing patients greater control over their own exposure. Virtual reality experiences can be designed to be highly interactive, allowing patients to maintain a sense of control even as they experience anxiety triggers.
- VR Therapy offers a drug-free method of reducing trauma-related anxiety.
- A well-designed VR treatment program can offer improved cost-effectiveness over conventional treatment programs.
- The immersive power of VR provides a more engaging and more authentic experience, which results in greater effectiveness.
- Unlike conventional anxiety-treatment programs, VR apps empower patients to continue their own treatment at home, which significantly increases the long-term effectiveness of the treatment.
VR therapy will not in all cases replace conventional treatment methods. But even as an adjunct therapy, it offers exciting advantages over standard treatments, alone.