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Metaverse in Mental Health: The Beginning of a Long History.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: We review the first pilot studies applying metaverse-related technologies in psychiatric patients and discuss the rationale for using this complex federation of technologies to treat mental diseases. Concerning previous virtual-reality applications in medical care, metaverse technologies provide the unique opportunity to define, control, and shape virtual scenarios shared by multi-users to exploit the "synchronized brains" potential exacerbated by social interactions.

RECENT FINDINGS: The application of an avatar-based sexual therapy program conducted on a metaverse platform has been demonstrated to be more effective concerning traditional sexual coaching for treating female orgasm disorders. Again, a metaverse-based social skills training program has been tested on children with autism spectrum disorders, demonstrating a significant impact on social interaction abilities. Metaverse-related technologies could enable us to develop new reliable approaches for treating diseases where behavioral symptoms can be addressed using socio-attentive tasks and social-interaction strategies.

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