Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Agoraphobia and virtual reality

Agoraphobia has been described as the most complex phobia, the one most difficult to treat and the phobia that produces the highest level of incapacity. Phobias are often treated by a gradual exposure to the situation or thing that people are afraid of but this can sometimes be logistically, economically or psychologically impossible. There has been an increasing interest in virtual reality exposure, used in conjunction with cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) but its results in agoraphobia are unclear or inconsistent. A team of Spanish researchers compared virtual reality exposure plus CBT with traditional CBT. Both groups showed a significant improvement which was maintained three months later. The virtual reality group showed a slight amelioration in symptoms relative to the CBT group.

Penate, Wenceslao ... [et al] - The effects of a treatment based on the use of virtual reality exposure and cognitive-behavioral therapy applied to patients with agoraphobia International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 2008, 8(1), 5-22

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