Virtual Reality Exposure Simulation for Student Veteran Social Anxiety and PTSD: A Case Study
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Exposure based exercises are a common element of many gold standard treatments for anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder and virtual reality simulations have been evaluated as a platform for providing clients with opportunities for repeated exposure during treatment. Although research on virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) indicates effectiveness and high levels of user satisfaction, VRETs require a participant to complete exposure exercises in-offices with specialized equipment. The current exploratory case method study evaluates the experience and outcomes of one student veteran with social anxiety disorder and PTSD completing twelve sessions of VRET exposure using a mobile phone simulation of a virtual grocery store. The participant reported decreases in psychological symptoms, improvements in neurological connectivity, and better sleep quality upon completing the trial. Results suggest that VRET using a mobile application is feasible and warrants further research to evaluate effectiveness more fully. Implications include the use of a mobile based virtual reality simulation for intervening in social anxiety for student veterans.