Clinical Relevance of Immersive Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Treatment of Addictive Disorders: A Systematic Review and Future Perspective

Simon Langener*, Joanne VanDerNagel, Jeannette van Manen, Wiebren Markus, Boukje Dijkstra, Laura DeFuentes-Merillas, Randy Klaassen, Janika Heitmann, Dirk Heylen, Arnt Schellekens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

1) Background: Virtual reality (VR) has been investigated in a variety of psychiatric disorders, including addictive disorders (ADs); (2) Objective: This systematic review evaluates the current evidence of immersive VR (using head-mounted displays) in the clinical assessment and treatment of ADs; (3) Method: PubMed and PsycINFO were queried for publications up to November 2020; (4) Results: We screened 4519 titles, 114 abstracts and 85 full-texts, and analyzed 36 articles regarding the clinical assessment (i.e., diagnostic and prognostic value; n = 19) and treatment (i.e., interventions; n = 17) of ADs. Though most VR assessment studies (n = 15/19) showed associations between VR-induced cue-reactivity and clinical parameters, only two studies specified diagnostic value. VR treatment studies based on exposure therapy showed no or negative effects. However, other VR interventions like embodied and aversive learning paradigms demonstrated positive findings. The overall study quality was rather poor; (5) Conclusion: Though VR in ADs provides ecologically valid environments to induce cue-reactivity and provide new treatment paradigms, the added clinical value in assessment and therapy remains to be elucidated before VR can be applied in clinical care. Therefore, future work should investigate VR efficacy in randomized clinical trials using well-defined clinical endpoints
Original languageEnglish
Article number3658
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume10
Issue number16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • UT-Gold-D

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