A Systematic Review of using Virtual and Augmented Reality for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Psychotic Disorders

Lucy Lan*, Jennifer Sikov, Julia Lejeune, Chelsea Ji, Hannah Brown, Kim Bullock, Andrea E. Spencer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Objective: Immersive virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to improve the treatment and diagnosis of individuals experiencing psychosis. Although commonly used in creative industries, emerging evidence reveals that VR is a valuable tool to potentially improve clinical outcomes, including medication adherence, motivation, and rehabilitation. However, the efficacy and future directions of this novel intervention require further study. The aim of this review is to search for evidence of efficacy in enhancing existing psychosis treatment and diagnosis with AR/VR. Methods: 2069 studies involving AR/VR as a diagnostic and treatment option were reviewed via PRISMA guidelines in five databases: PubMed, PsychInfo, Embase, and CINAHL. Results: Of the initial 2069 articles, 23 original articles were eligible for inclusion. One study applied VR to the diagnosis of schizophrenia. Most studies demonstrated that the addition of VR therapies and rehabilitation methods to treatment-as-usual (medication, psychotherapy, social skills training) was more effective than traditional methods alone in treating psychosis disorders. Studies also support the feasibility, safety, and acceptability of VR to patients. No articles using AR as a diagnostic or treatment option were found. Conclusions: VR is efficacious in diagnosing and treating individuals experiencing psychosis and is a valuable augmentation of evidence-based treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-107
Number of pages21
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Augmented reality
  • Digital therapeutics
  • Metaverse
  • Psychosis
  • Treatment
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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