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Virtual Reality-Based CBT Beneficial for Psychotic Disorders

FRIDAY, Feb. 9, 2018 -- For patients with a psychotic disorder, virtual reality-based cognitive behavioral therapy (VR-CBT) in addition to standard treatment can reduce paranoid ideation and momentary anxiety, according to a study published online Feb. 8 in The Lancet Psychiatry.

Roos M.C.A. Pot-Kolder, from the VU University and the Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial at seven Dutch mental health centers involving outpatients aged 18 to 65 years with a diagnosed psychotic disorder and paranoid ideation. One hundred sixteen patients were randomized to receive VR-CBT, which consisted of 16 individual hour-long sessions, or waiting list control (58 patients in each group).

The researchers found that at the post-treatment assessment (three months from baseline), VR-CBT did not significantly increase the amount of time spent with other people compared with the control. At the post-treatment assessment, there were significant reductions in momentary paranoid ideation (β = −0.331) and momentary anxiety (β = −0.288) in the VR-CBT group versus the control group; these improvements were maintained at a six-month follow-up assessment. In paranoid ideation, safety behavior and social cognition problems mediated change. There were no reports of adverse events relating to therapy or assessments.

"Our results suggest that the addition of VR-CBT to standard treatment can reduce paranoid ideation and momentary anxiety in patients with a psychotic disorder," the authors write.

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Posted: February 2018