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ABSTRACT: Virtual reality (VR) is an evolving technology that is being applied to treat a wide range of medical and psychiatric diseases. A virtual reality therapy (VRT) with multisensory stimulation has been applied to patients with alcohol dependence (ADP). We hypothesized that the VRTP for alcohol dependence would reduce the craving for alcohol and increase alpha wave activity in frontal areas of individuals with ADP. Twenty ADP and eighteen ADP were exposed to a series of 10 VRTP sessions (VRTP-ADP) and cognitive behavioral therapy (nVRTP-ADP), respectively. Fifteen healthy controls were exposed to VRTP for comparing the changes of craving and EEG during all three phases of VRTP. The VRTP-ADP exhibited a greater decrease in craving after the 10th VRTP session, when compared to the nVRTP-ADP. Compared to the healthy control subjects, VRTP-ADP group showed higher magnitude of the change in craving throughout VRTP sessions. These results suggest that VRTP may be useful as an adjunct to treating alcohol dependence but may also serve as an evaluation tool to identify high-risk patients.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 09/2008; 91(3):393-7. · 2.61 Impact Factor