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Can Virtual Reality Cure Depression? New Study Offers Hope

Daniel Kim Views  

Researchers have discovered that virtual reality therapy can effectively treat depression.

The study that investigated the impact of virtual reality therapy on the severity of depression in patients was published in the JMIR Mental Health Journal.

Virtual reality (VR) is widely used in various industries, such as automotive, architecture, retail, and tourism. Recently, attempts have been made to utilize VR in the medical field to improve patient treatment outcomes. In previous studies, VR was employed in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The research team examined the effectiveness of virtual reality in reducing the severity of depression with 26 patients based on the PHQ-9 (Patient Health Questionnaire-9) measurement. A higher PHQ-9 score means the subject has severe depression.

In this study, the patients underwent three weeks of behavioral activation therapy wearing an XR-BA extended reality (XR) headset. Extended reality (XR) is a comprehensive term that includes augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR).

Patients who engaged in behavioral activation therapy while wearing the XR-BA generally showed a decrease in their PHQ-9 scores. Additionally, patients interested in new technology or who explored complex virtual reality worlds showed better treatment outcomes than others. The complex virtual reality worlds included magic board games, skill games, puzzle-solving based on clues, and dancing to music.

Based on the study results, the researchers concluded that virtual reality therapy can be advantageous in treating depression.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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