Mental health has emerged as one of the leading illnesses in the global burden of diseases in both the advanced economies and the developing world. This is particularly true following the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exacerbated mental health issues worldwide. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, 20% of adults and adolescents suffer from some form of mental health condition.
While this may be alarming, the good news is that mental illnesses are avoidable and manageable with the right kind of treatment and care. Individuals can opt for either oral medicine, talk therapy and counselling, or a combination of the two to ensure their mental well-being.
In this regard, medical science has taken advantage of rapid growth in innovative technologies by offering digital therapy facilities to patients all over the world. This involves telehealth services whereby a patient can easily gain access to professional therapists via virtual reality and online therapy to manage their mental health conditions on a regular basis.
In this article, we offer a comprehensive guide on how cutting-edge technology such as digital therapy using virtual reality can improve your mental health and well-being.
How Does Digital Therapy Work For Mental Health?
Virtual reality, commonly referred to as VR, is a type of digital therapy that involves the use of virtual reality technology to offer the user an immersive and engaging patient experience. Basically, it lies at the intersection of technology and medical science to connect people in real-time from any part of the world with a certified mental health professional.
Generally, it involves finding a credible and trustworthy virtual health clinic, and contacting them so that you can speak to a therapist online and discuss your symptoms and other needs and requirements. After that, you receive a VR headset which is pre-loaded with FDA-registered applications so that you don’t have to worry about downloading or installing anything. You can then begin your virtual reality therapy in a dynamic and private atmosphere while receiving a bespoke and tailor-made health plan.
Make sure that you discuss the frequency of your appointments with your chosen therapist or counselor, and keep them informed of your personal progress, setbacks, and everything in between. Remember that VR therapy’s aim is to resolve any and all mental health related issues you might have just as conventional in-person therapy sessions do.
What Kind Mental Health Services To Expect From Digital Therapy?
Digital therapy, particularly virtual reality therapy, can help address many different kinds of mental health problems such as:
- Anxiety disorders including social anxiety
- Everyday stress
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD
- Isolation, particularly following Covid-19
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
For instance, when it comes to treating patients who might have a phobia or anxiety of a particular situation, VR therapists make use of real-life stimuli by mimicking a situation that an individual may otherwise avoid. The therapist is in control of this augmented reality and ensures that they ease the patient into the process. Basically, therapists can adjust the intensity of these controlled environments; an aspect that can not be replicated in real-life.
This makes VR therapy incredibly useful and particularly different from conventional forms of therapy, which rely on patients to either imagine their phobias or confront them in actuality. By using the VR mode of therapy, the therapist can ensure that an individual doesn’t feel too overwhelmed and receives treatment and exposure according to their pace.
Benefits Of Digital Therapy For Mental Health
There are plenty of benefits of digital virtual reality therapy, with many scientific studies backing its usefulness and efficacy.
Firstly, VR therapy is convenient as the patient can enjoy the benefits of mental health treatment without actually having to physically go to a clinic. This can also help individuals save travel costs, and give them greater flexibility in their personal and work schedules since they don’t have to be bound to a particular location to maintain regular treatment.
There is also the advantage of enhanced patient experience since people tend to be more active in virtual reality settings, which improve patient health outcomes. Importantly, such solutions are making mental health treatment accessibility easier and more widespread and improving healthcare delivery systems globally.
While mental health conditions may be challenging and difficult to cope with in everyday life, it is essential to seek help and counselling. With the emergence of easily accessible, convenient, and engaging methods such as digital therapy and virtual reality, you can now seek support from certified professionals from the comfort of your home and begin the journey to improving your mental health and overall well-being.