(1) Background: Virtual Reality (VR) is a fully immersive computer simulated experience consisting of a three-dimensional interactive virtual environment, through a head-mounted display (HMD) and controller. The use of virtual reality has recently been proposed for the treatment of various psychiatric conditions, including the spectrum of schizophrenia. Our review aims to investigate the current available evidence regarding the use of immersive virtual reality in the treatment of psychotic symptoms. (2) Methods: From April 2019 to June 2020, we conducted a systematic review aimed at identifying therapeutic applications in immersive virtual reality for the spectrum of schizophrenia, searching for relevant studies on Web of Science, EMBASE, PsycINFO and CINHAL. (3) Results: We identified a total of 2601 unique records. Of these, 64 full-text articles were assessed for eligibility, and six out of these met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final systematic review. (4) Conclusions: The available data on immersive virtual reality are currently limited due to the few studies carried out on the topic; however, it has demonstrated its effectiveness and versatility in successfully treating various psychotic symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, or cognitive and social skills. Existing literature agrees on safe, tolerable, and long-term persistence of the therapeutic effects obtained by immersive VR. No serious side effects have been reported. In some specific cases, VR therapy was found to be very effective compared to usual treatment, allowing effective drug free interventions, and therefore without side effects for patients, even in those resistant to normal drug therapies.
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Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Authors (in alph. order): Emanuele Bisso, Eugenio Aguglia, Maria Salvina Signorelli, Marilena Maglia, Michele Milazzo, Pasquale Caponnetto, Riccardo Polosa