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Jan. 1, 2022

5 Ways Virtual Reality Helps Mental Health

5 Ways Virtual Reality Helps Mental Health

Virtual Reality (VR) has always been a worrisome topic when it comes to human health. It's a common misconception that using VR gadgets negatively affects our brains. Instead, new scientific studies have shown VR can help boost mental health, contrary to old beliefs.

Going into a bit of depth, VR seems to impact the gray matter of your brain positively. It's the part that controls your movements, memory, your feelings, and emotions. In short, VR has the power to influence all major life activities. Thus, scientists started psychological research based on VR usage for diagnosing and treating Mental Health conditions.

Diseases and disorders related to mental health are always the hardest to cure. Lifelong issues such as various phobias, social anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s disease (memory loss), or Chronic migraine pain are related to your mental health. VR has helped create unique diagnosis procedures, laboratory test methods, and different treatment techniques for improving mental health.

I use the Oculus Quest 2 Virtual Reality headset for relaxation. See Amazon for Prices. 

5 Significant Ways VR Improves Mental Health

With the help of scientific advancements leading the way into the next generation, we are depending more on the computer-based programs than traditional therapies. Who to blame when software programs like VR-based therapies are serving as affordable substitutes for face-to-face therapists. Such alternative treatment options are becoming lifesavers for the new upcoming generation bringing evolution in the field of medicine.

Virtual reality headset being used for meditation.

Here's a list of top five ways in which VR helps to improve mental health.

1.  Unique Treatment Technology Used For Mental Health Therapies

Virtual Reality has brought about a new dynamic system for treating mental health problems. VR has successfully proven to deliver effective means of mental health therapies that involve rapid and long-lasting improvements. Multiple hospital and clinical trials have been conducted to test VR-based mental health therapies. So far, the outcomes have been astonishingly in favor of Virtual Reality.

If not better, VR-based therapies deliver an equal plus stable effect on mentally disturbed patients. The power of creating stimulations and manipulating them as per need has brought a revolutionary therapy tool to treat mental issues.

Acrophobia, the fear of heights, has been targeted in one of the research-based study papers drawn by Oxford students. According to their study outcomes, VR presented a distinct solution for improving and stabilizing the phobic minds of the patient. The results showed a visible improvement in decreasing patients' fear of height by 70% than any of the usual face-to-face therapy.

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2.  Quality Treatment At Better Coverage On A Larger Scale

For providing treatment to many, resources have always been a troublesome point. Especially in case of mental health, one can't compromise on receiving anything less than Quality treatment therapy. A treatment technique that makes a difference such as VR MH Therapies (Virtual Reality Mental Health therapy).

VR is an innovative new tool in the medical field, promises much better coverage with high-quality treatment at a larger scale. Facilitating more patients than ever before, VR provides an automated solution for treating Mental Health conditions.

Many people still go untreated due to an extreme shortage of qualified Therapists and clinical professionals. Some get tired of long waiting lists and can no longer tolerate the proceedings. VR eliminates the time-consuming parts enabling the medical therapy to empower patients by being an automated program.

There's no longer a need for one-on-one meetings with the therapist, but a single therapy program can suffice. Bringing up-gradation to the field, VR enables patients to receive rapid and high-quality Mental Health treatment.

Woman using virtual reality therapy for anxiety.

3.  Self-indulgent Treatment Option For Treating Major Mental Problems

Contrary to mythical claims, VR has shown a significant distinction in improving mental health conditions. Research-based studies conducted to test and verify the effectiveness of VR have resulted in its favor. Supporting the idea of using VR as a valuable treatment option for treating Mental problems, surveys have indicated VR involvement brings a major shift in patient compliance.

The usual statistics state that 20-30% of patients suffering from mental trauma, anxiety, phobias also fear the treatment outcomes. Patients with mental disturbance fail to realize the need for treatment, and so they prefer to drop out without any prior notice. Sudden change or incomplete therapies result in persistent mental conditions.

On the other hand, VR-based therapies are bound to provide a superior patient experience. The unique idea of patient indulgence brings a sense of self-care within individuals suffering from psychological stress and phobias.

Related Article: What Causes Panic Attacks to Feel Like Your Dying

4.  Cost-Effective Solution With Potential For Achieving Major Mental Health Improvements

Providing consistent treatment, VR-based Mental Therapies overall saves you the cost of extra expenditures. A UK-based research survey showed that patients end up paying about 94 pounds per annum to their mental therapists. The cost, when compared with the cost of VR therapy, was reduced by major factors of saving the cost of transport, time expense, appointment technicalities, etc.⁶

Studies further indicate that many patients opt against therapies as they can't afford to pay the lump sum fees due to funding issues and workforce salary shortages. In comparison, VR-enabled therapy has clearly been a cost-effective solution with the potential for achieving significant Mental Health Improvements.

5.  Patient-Friendly Flexible Approach To Improve Mental Health

VR, being a unique addition to the screening world, has brought entertainment to your doorstep. What better way to use this entertainment than to treat mental issues? No wonder why VR ranks as the topmost fun therapy in every survey. Patients find VR-based therapy more like a game or a source of entertainment that brings them happiness. A virtual world that lets them experience the beauty of the natural world without actually having them step out of their comfort zones.

Eliminating the differences of age groups and gender discrimination, Studies conducted at Oxford showed that VR therapy was three times more effective in treating Acrophobia (Fear of heights) than the average traditional face-to-face therapy.

Conclusion

VR technology being the heart of the modern world, has clearly left behind traditional treatment options. Equalizing the therapeutic workload, VR provides cost-effective therapy solutions with tremendous potential and fewer flaws. Patient compliance is also a significant factor most influenced by using VR-based mental therapies.

References:

  1. Giuseppe Riva et al. Neuroscience of Virtual Reality: From Virtual Exposure to Embodied Medicine, Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. January 2019

 

  1. Laura Dellazizzo et al. Evidence on Virtual Reality-Based Therapies for Psychiatric Disorders: Meta-Review of Meta-Analyses, J Med Internet Res. 2020

 

  1. Carlos M Coelho et al. The use of virtual reality in acrophobia research and treatment. J Anxiety Disord. 2009 Jun.

 

  1. Shaun W Jerdan et al. Head-Mounted Virtual Reality and Mental Health: Critical Review of Current Research, JMIR Serious Games. 2018.

 

  1. Gordana Dermody et al. The Role of Virtual Reality in Improving Health Outcomes for Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Systematic Review, J Med Internet Res. 2020.

 

  1. Jessica L Maples-Keller et al. The Use of Virtual Reality Technology in the Treatment of Anxiety and Other Psychiatric Disorders, Harv Rev Psychiatry. May/Jun 2017