Agoraphobia is a very difficult condition to live with. However, prospects for treatment in the United Kingdom could be about to improve.

The NHS has announced that they are set to offer virtual reality (VR) therapy to aid in their treatment.

This provides a new approach to treatment. But with VR becoming more ubiquitous in our lives, it is likely that we will see it used a lot in mental health treatment in the future.

This is a new treatment offered by the NHS

What is agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is a common phobia that is associated with anxiety. Agoraphobia describes the fear of being in a situation where escape might be difficult. Agoraphobia is an example of a complex phobia – which has a marked effect on the life of an individual. They may struggle to leave their home, and is often linked to panic attacks.

New treatment

While traditional talking therapy is used normally for agoraphobia, it doesn’t work for everyone. Common variants of therapy used for agoraphobia include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Cognitive Analytical Therapy. The condition is classed as an Anxiety condition.

The new treatment involves the use of VR technology. It will involve wearing a special headset, which will allow patients to experience virtual situations.

The idea is that patients will partake in situations that make them anxious. For instance, this may be in a crowded hall or supermarket.

However, the key is that they will be able to either do this in the comfort of their own home, or at a medical clinic.

As with any case of VR, lifelike 3D images appear in front of them. It will be an immersive experience, with the idea being that this will simulate a real-life situation as closely as possible.

Furthermore, a virtual therapist will accompany them throughout their experience. They will offer techniques during the experience, with the aim of helping the patient.

NHS Approval

The NHS has approved this treatment. As with all mental health treatment on the NHS, it is free, funded by UK taxpayers.

It isn’t known yet how readily it will be offered. Moreover, it isn’t known yet how the referral process will work, nor which areas in the United Kingdom it will be offered in.

It is likely that VR will be used widely across mental health treatment in the years to come. This landmark moment may usher in a new era of treatment.


This is an exciting development for those with agoraphobia. While these are very early days, the hope is that this treatment will help those with the condition.

Agoraphobia is challenging to live with. Therefore, having any new treatment is exciting.

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