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Virtual reality in the management of stress and anxiety disorders:  A retrospective analysis of 61 people treated in the metaverse

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posted on 2023-07-21, 07:14 authored by Eran Orr, Tal Arbel, Miki Levy, Yaron Sela, Omer Weissberger, Omer Liran, Jeremy Lewis

Mental health is the second largest group of health disorders associated with prolonged disability.  Treating conditions such as stress and anxiety are a global health challenge due to inadequate  funding and resources. Therefore, providing virtual treatment in the metaverse may provide a  novel method of treatment for these conditions. We conducted a retrospective analysis of health  records of people experiencing stress and anxiety who were treated principally in the metaverse  using virtual reality. The main objective was to determine if virtual mental health treatment was  achievable and safe, with measurable outcomes repeated at multiple time points. Here, 61 participants health records were evaluated (50% were female, 19% male, 31% identified as other).  The cohort was 45.7 ± 15.7 years of age and reported no adverse effects with outcomes  measured. Specifically, anxiety (via Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale) decreased by 34% (p = 0.002) and stress (via Perceived Stress Scale) decreased by 32% (p < 0.001) after virtual intervention. The data suggests that this method of treatment was feasible, safe, and outcomes were  obtainable over a range of time points. This early data suggest that management in the metaverse  for these conditions may be beneficial, however, further prospective studies are necessary to  better understand these clinical findings.  



Heliyon 9(7), E17870



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