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08 / Apr / 2021

Many individuals worldwide suffer from some form of drug addiction or substance use disorder (SUD). Due to the cyclical nature of withdrawal and relapses, eg. alcohol use disorder (AUD), the difficulty rooted in managing such brain diseases can dishearten those who most want to cease drug misuse and lead healthier lives. Virtual reality methods can also have a large impact on those seeking treatment and play a significant role in countering their feelings of defeatism and self-doubt. By rejecting their addiction repeatedly in a virtual scenario, individuals foster the confidence to do so in the real world and maintain that belief in their own abilities across other treatment options.

Benefits of using VR for Addiction Treatment

Scholars at the  Virtual Reality Clinical Research Lab at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work are pioneers of using VR technology for treatment purposes. The researchers have achieved success using virtual reality therapy to help smokers refuse the temptation of cigarettes.

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The benefits of virtual reality can apply no matter what stage of the process they are in.

1. Detoxification

To help during the  process of detoxifying from drug addiction , virtual reality techniques can be used to distract the individual from the discomfort of withdrawal and detox. While immersed in this alternate reality, many find it easier to cope with their symptoms and stay committed to their sobriety.

2. Fighting Cravings

VR is an active experience, with the user diving completely into a different reality. Specific sounds, smells, situations, and visual stimuli play a vital role in their desire to use drugs, and by engaging regularly with these specific triggers, addicts can practice overcoming them through repeat exposure.

3. Learning to say No.

With virtual reality, clients can practice these scenarios over and over again without having to worry about what happens if they cannot say no. Recovery is a daily commitment, but it can be easier to do if you know you have succeeded in the past. By saying successfully no to addiction in a virtual setting, addicts can feel more confident saying no once they leave treatment.

4. Personalized Therapy

As much as VR can help addicts fight off outside triggers, it can also help therapists identify the internal contributions fostering an addiction. Self-doubt, childhood trauma, a family history of addiction, and countless other factors could be building a roadblock to recovery. By exploring these scenarios customized therapies can be designed to determine the root cause of addiction.

5. Relaxation

Soothing scenes, when combined with relaxing music, can help reduce agitation, stress, paranoia, and anger and provide a quiet place for self-reflection. This technology can also provide an escape if cravings become overwhelming.


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09 / Feb / 2021

Being a human comes with all sorts of baggage, oftentimes dealing with emotions that cloud our judgments on a daily basis. However there is only so much that a person can bear, like debt that accumulates over time. Sweating, trembling, giddiness- when the stress levels increase so much as to hinder our mundane activities it means you've crossed into the health burdening territory of anxiety.

The prevalence of anxiety disorders across the world varies from 2.5 to 7 percent by country. Globally an estimated 284 million people experienced an anxiety disorder, making it the most prevalent mental health or neuro-developmental disorder. Social anxiety often stems from teen years and has variety of factors. These might include genetic problems, personality {being innately shy} or life problems {any violent experience}. Most people experience these symptoms of social anxiety during confrontational or attention-drawing situations. There exists a constant underlying fear of embarrassment, criticism rejection and most importantly failure. Unfortunately these implications are extended into almost all aspects of life like Public speaking at an occasion to a job interview or simply ordering food from the restaurant.

Fortunately for every problem there is a solution or at-least a solution in progress. Before using virtual reality as an avenue for treatment, non-exposure therapies were used to activate the fear that the patients felt would conjure anxiety for them. But these methods had certain limitations for example, imaginal exposure wherein a patient imagines the stimuli that triggers anxiety-instilling fear. However, the it was difficult for the doctor to know and understand what the patient has actually imagines.

Virtual reality helps bridge this gap while having the same goal: Patients learn how to overcome anxiety by replacing it with relaxation. Therapists can now use VR to help their patients maneuver difficult situations. But what VR does differently is, it creates real life situations in an environment that can be seen and controlled by the therapists. It this element of control that sets VR apart from other modes of therapy and is also the driving force behind its popularity. The extent of use of VR in anxiety treatment is also modified by its ability to be used remotely from anywhere without actually leaving the office. .The sole purpose of VR is to recreate a vivid representation of the world we actually live so that the feeling of actually being present there is real.


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