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A scoping review of the application of interactive technology for treating hallucinations in schizophrenia

Picco, S.A. (2022) A scoping review of the application of interactive technology for treating hallucinations in schizophrenia.

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Abstract:Introduction: Schizophrenia is a severe and chronic brain condition that affects people's actions, thoughts, and perceptions of the world. This disorder has a serious impact on the well-being of the patients by, for example, leading to high treatment costs for the patient and often leading them to complete social isolation. They commonly experience hallucinations, which are percepts without corresponding external stimuli and cause severe distress. Current treatment methods have gradually shifted away from relying solely on drugs with limited efficacy and toward a greater role for technology. One popular approach is using smartphone apps to collect data regarding such hallucinations and the patients' well-being. This scoping review, which examined several databases on the topic, offers an overview of the interactive technology interventions now being used to monitor and treat hallucinations in schizophrenia, as well as information on their feasibility, acceptability, and effectiveness. Methods: The studies were collected through three databases: Google Scholar, PubMed, and APA PsycNet. 11 studies were selected after establishing the exclusion and inclusion criteria and conducting a thorough search. Data was then extracted about the participant characteristics, the study characteristics in the form of the study designs and different types of interactive technological interventions, the effectiveness of those interventions and their relevant measurement instruments, and finally, the feasibility and acceptability of those interventions. The data were grouped and displayed in tables to better visualise the findings. Results: The studies used a wide range of sample sizes. However, all studies included patients with schizophrenia who also experienced auditory hallucinations. The most popular technological intervention was AVATAR therapy, followed by smartphone apps. The pilot trial was also the most common study design. All technologies were feasible, and despite patients' concerns about their privacy, they also had a high rate of acceptability. Additionally, most interventions effectively reduced the symptoms associated with those hallucinations and frequently improved the patients' quality of life. The studies also used a variety of measurement tools to report their findings. Discussion: Hallucinations in schizophrenia are tracked and treated using a variety of interactive technological interventions. The review also revealed a shift away from putting patients in a passive role and towards a more active role through the use of interactive technologies. These technologies provide new treatment options a for a long-standing and persistent problem that medications frequently fail to address. Therefore, interactive technologies should be considered for broader implementation in treating hallucinations in schizophrenia. Given that auditory hallucinations are not limited to schizophrenia, these interactive technologies could also be used to treat other disorders, but this needs to be researched first. Nonetheless, some technological interventions require extensive software knowledge and training and therefore need further studies to study the cost-effectiveness of providing therapists with adequate training. Future scoping reviews should scope more databases and take steps to minimize biases.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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