The combined use of virtual reality exposure in the treatment of agoraphobia

Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2015 Jul-Aug;43(4):133-41. Epub 2015 Jul 1.


Introduction: This study compares the differential efficacy of three groups of treatments for agoraphobia: paroxetine combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy, paroxetine combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy and virtual reality exposure, and a group with only paroxetine.

Methodology: 99 patients with agoraphobia were finally selected. Both combined treatment groups received 11 sessions of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and one of the groups was also exposed to 4 sessions of virtual reality treatment. Treatments were applied in individual sessions once a week for 3 months.

Results: The three treatment groups showed statistically significant improvements. In some measures, combined treatment groups showed greater improvements. The virtual reality exposure group showed greater improvement confronting phobic stimuli.

Conclusions: Treatments combining psychopharmacological and psychological therapy showed greater efficacy. Although the use of new technologies led to greater improvement, treatment adherence problems still remain.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agoraphobia / therapy*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Paroxetine / therapeutic use*
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy*


  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Paroxetine