Virtual Reality Treatment

Virtual Reality Treatment

Topic Overview

Virtual reality therapy is the use of computer-produced situations to make you believe and feel as though you are actually in a different place and situation. You may wear a helmet or goggles that contain a small video screen through which you see computer-produced images. When you move your head, the images on the screen change as they would in real life.

During virtual reality therapy, you can confront a feared object or situation or traumatic event while staying in a safe and comfortable place. A counselor helps you talk about your feelings and thoughts throughout the experience, encourages you, and offers suggestions to help you deal with the situation or event. You will gradually be able to deal with the emotional and physical distress you feel and learn to handle your thoughts and feelings.

Virtual reality therapy has been successfully used to help people with:

  • Exaggerated fears (phobias). You can use virtual reality to confront a feared object or situation. For example, if you have a fear of heights, you can "virtually" walk across a bridge and look over the side, knowing all the time that you are still in a safe room.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You can use virtual reality to relive a traumatic event. For example, you can confront reminders of the traumatic event and talk about the emotional distress you experienced at the time of the event. It can also be used to safely experience and prevent potential problems from events that can have long-term trauma, such as war.

Some virtual reality therapy programs help with depression, quitting smoking, decreasing pain, sleeping better, and drug or alcohol addiction.

Credits

Current as ofSeptember 11, 2018

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.