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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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12 / Mar / 2021

Virtual reality (VR) opens up so many opportunities, giving users the ability to do everything from swimming in the ocean to flying through outer space with ease. The technology's fun options are endless - but how does it fit into childbirth?. VR magnifies the mind-body connection & influences our brain on how it perceives the sensation of pain. Recently virtual reality is being used by doctors during labor to distract & calm women until its time to push.

Virtual reality offers patients a medication-free option to help them cope with the anxieties and pain of birth. There is a research that is focused on women in labor, involving a half-hour test that displayed certain relaxing sequences via a VR headset. The experiment involved women who hadn't been given pain drugs and were going into labor for the first time. According to Reuters, the study participants who wore the VR headsets over a 30-minute period had an average 0.52 point drop on the self-reported pain scale (which goes from 1 to 10) compared with the control group that experienced a nearly identical rise  in pain.

Using VR for women in labor has additional benefits such as:

  • Lower Costs.
  • Few side effects.
  • Less risk to the mother & the baby.
  • A medication free option
  • Effective pain relief.
  • Also offers reliefs during post-birth procedures like stitches for tears or incisions.

Virtual reality could also help those who may have an active or past substance use disorder. The Administration's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services  clinical guide on treating pregnant people with opioid use disorder explains that those with the disorder can have a diminished response to opioid medication. This means they often require higher doses to find relief. During labor, it's possible that VR could offer a way to augment or replace medication to help manage pain for those with a substance use disorder.

During labor, VR offers a way to augment or replace medication to help manage pain effectively may also increase the body's own levels of endorphins and other pain-blocking mechanisms.


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08 / Mar / 2021

Several disciplines have investigated the interconnected empathic abilities behind the proverb “to walk a mile in someone else's shoes” to determine how we perceive somebody else's pain and condition. Empathy enables us to learn from others' pain and to know when to offer support. Human brain makes an embodied simulation of the body in the world, and uses this simulation to depict and prepare its responses. Similarly, VR also stimulates sensory receptors in users & influence a person's decision-making ability.

VR solutions helps physicians and healthcare worker to get first-hand experience of the specific symptoms by themselves. For example, if a doctor or nurse can now watch and participate in a 3-D environment to feel what a patient suffering from dementia goes through everyday. In the simulation, they can hear the conversations from the patient's family going on around them and, even more impressively, they can  hear the thoughts  of the patients' they embody using VR. Virtual Reality is not only facilitating heightened empathy in existing medical practices, it's also supporting a new generation of doctors in their work. One of the most promising fields is integrating VR software that allows medical students to empathize with older adults. In fact it has been proved that using the headsets in VR medics can grasp the different difficulties that exist with old-age like severe hearing problems, joint pains, loss of vision, posture imbalance etc.

Another aspect that can be taken into consideration, is staging difficult conversations between the doctors & the family members of the patients. VR can help generate different scenarios where the doctor has to communicate news about terminally ill patients or life-ending steps. The respond during these simulations can help the doctors be more considerate and and help practice overly-distressing scenes.

It's important to recognize that virtual reality is not intended to prompt emotions from medical staff using the technology. Instead, VR can help professionals harness perceived emotions to change how they act in the real world. By having a clearer insight into patients' perceptions, tailormade VR platforms can be built to promote coping mechanisms and even rehabilitation - bridging the gap between patients and professionals for good.


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18 / Feb / 2021

Virtual reality is emerging as a novel and cost effective non-pharmacologic therapy for pain, and there is growing interest to use VR in the acute hospital setting. Traditionally, opioid was the key for pain reliving and while it was very effective it also had many side-effects associated with it like nausea, dizziness & sedation among others. These adverse prolong the duration of patient's stay in the hospital, increased cost of healthcare and a significant decrease in patient's satisfaction.

Therefore, it has now become vital to search for non-pharmacologic treatments that contribute to the efficacy of overall pain management. This is where virtual reality comes into play, by creating a computer-generated simulation which can be explored and interacted by the users. In a recent study it was found that 65% of hospitalized patients receiving a VR experience achieved a clinically significant pain response vs. 40% of controls watching a relaxation video. VR can complement a lower dose of pain medication or will eliminate the need for medicine altogether for some patients, which will reduce the expenditure on opioids and other pain killing mechanisms.

The SyncVR-Relax & Distract explore virtual reality (VR) as a distraction intervention during treatment processes. Our systems not only cut the dependence of patients on pain reliving medications but are also affordable, lightweight, smaller and comfortable. Many use a smartphone for the display and hardware, which track the patients movements to analyze their improvement while giving the caregiver total control over what their patients see.

VR applications can teach people to manage their pain in the real world. It can train and convince a person that they have governance over their body and their experience. It demonstrates that the brain's response to injuries can be manipulated in a positive way.


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15 / Feb / 2021

Virtual reality is an accessible tool for supporting student engagement. It has the potential to encourage independent learning, appeal to different learning approaches, improve self-confidence, and is a form of active learning. Nursing instructors are leading the charge when it comes to adopting new educational technologies, and now, as educational programs of all types pivot to remote learning , nursing students have the advantage of leveraging digital simulation platforms designed for use outside of a traditional classroom. These platforms include hundreds of real-life scenarios and teach electronic health record use - offer a lifeline, often via a laptop or tablet. Virtual sessions could cover proper use of protective gear, for instance, or how to calm an aggressive patient.

Benefits of VR Simulated Training Programs for Nurses

Nursing education puts theory into practice. During clinical practice, nursing students make medication errors and have difficulty deciding on what interventions to perform in unusual situations and communicating with patients or other healthcare professionals. Virtual reality simulations show nursing students what it is like to be in a real-world clinical setting and what problems and risks they may encounter there, and thus, helps them develop skills, build confidence, and prepare for clinical practice. Students participating in VR simulations are more likely to become comfortable, confident, and successful in real clinical settings because they learn in an applied format.

Infections are the most common cause of death in hospitals. VR simulations can be used to help nurses develop positive attitudes towards hygiene, resulting in a reduction in the rate of infections. Simulation scenarios raised students' awareness of hand hygiene and reduced the incidence of infection by creating more awareness about the problems caused due to decontamination.

All healthcare professionals should have effective communication skills to ensure the optimum patient care. A lack of communication leads to missing patient data and poor planning, which may result in misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment. VR simulations that can talk enable students to cooperate and make accurate and rapid clinical decisions.

Students who have developed fundamental nursing skills in virtual environments are likely to feel more comfortable and confident and minimize the harm that may result from interventions in real clinical settings.


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