Virtual Reality CBT Useful for Alleviating Paranoia
Also found to help with momentary anxiety in people with psychotic disorders
Virtual-reality-based cognitive behavioral therapy (VR-CBT) improved some symptoms in patients with psychotic disorders, Dutch researchers reported.
Compared with usual care, patients who had VR-CBT added to their usual treatment reported significant improvements in levels of momentary anxiety (b=-0.288, 95% CI -0.438 to -0.1394, P=0.0002), as well as momentary paranoid ideation (-0.331, -0.432 to -0.230, P<0.0001), according to Roos M. C. A. Pot-Kolder, of the VU University and Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, and colleagues.
However, the therapy was not successful at improving amount of time spent with others in those with social avoidance, they wrote in Lancet Psychiatry.
“Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective psychological treatment for people with psychotic disorders,” the authors wrote, adding that the “effect sizes of CBT on paranoid delusions and social functioning are small to medium, but can be improved by more emphasis on behavioral rather than cognitive change, and by more person-specific exposure – a key element of CBT.”
Pot-Kolder’s group also explained how virtual-reality-based exercises could help overcome some of the limitations of traditional exposure-based therapeutic exercises, allowing the healthcare provider to be in control of the environment.
The randomized, controlled trial included 116 individuals, ages 18-65, with a psychotic disorder with paranoid ideation diagnosed according to the DSM-IV.