VR headsets may appear as a brand new gadget you want your hands on but the technology dates back to 1960s. The way it is taking entertainment by storm is enthralling. As a result, it compels us to search for its application beyond gaming and movies.
The striking potential of VR to influence our thinking and “cheat” our brain can be used for solving serious issues including mental illness. It can be seriously prolific in treating mental ailments like phobias and delusions. In addition, it can reform the treatment of post-traumatic stress.
Fear has new solution: VIRTUAL REALITY THERAPY
The most prominent and direct application of VR is a therapy to treat the phobias.Here, Recent studies suggest that VR has successfully treated Acrophobia (fear of height) .In this case, the virtual exposure therapy was set up. The therapy had several levels of heights for progressive treatment.
During the therapy, patients climbed virtual staircases to a top of a skyscraper. The very fact that the danger they fear won’t materialize was the key to the success.Accordingly, They believed that it is just a virtual height and thus they are safe.This kind of assurance is vital to conquer the fear in real life as well. The kind of behavioral and physiological features like increased heartbeat, the churning of stomach and freight were same as in real life.
Furthermore, the most gratifying part of VRT is that the patient can try it over and over again. VRT has turned out to be an effective way in treating fear of spiders and cockroaches. Likewise, reports inform that Virtual reality exposure can be versatile in coping with post-traumatic stress disorder.
From Delusions to Schizophrenia: VR is on a roll (at experimental level)
VR can be incredibly helpful in dealing with notorious mental problems. Delusions are extremely hard to tackle and there is a need for a superior approach to deal with it. This is where VR stands as an impending solution.
Patients with persecutory delusions (baseless, strong held beliefs that others intent to harm) develop bizarre feelings like “someone intends to kill me”, “people know what I’m thinking and will hurt me”, “people on purpose trying to upset me”. These frenzy thoughts signal toward severe illness like schizophrenia.
VR creates real life experience to treat the potential cases. These experiences must be handled in such a way that patients must feel that the situations they dread are actually not real. As the feeling of safety increases, the delusion decreases. A person with grave paranoia finds it tough to face their fear. VR puts them through these situations persuading them these are not real. This boosts the confidence in them thus helping them conquering their fear.
VR presents simple situations to handle for the person. Once the person feels comfortable, he goes to a relatively complex virtual situation. For example, making the person going to a local shop and asking him to interact can be a simple phase. The person can go as many times as he wants to fortify his self-belief. Next can be a simulation of more complex and dynamic situation like a market or a restaurant.
Some major psychiatric hospitals and institutions are designing and implementing several treatment methods using VR. Above all, the results are pretty promising. Particularly when the stress dropped by 50 percent in 30 minutes VR EXPOSURE therapy.
No one is mentally ill or depressed by choice. And the bitter fact is it is beyond the human potential to completely cure these ailments. Virtual reality can be a boon at for these unfortunates. It can move to the proximity of best results by treating their illness to a greater level. It is only matter of time and patience to see whether VR can be as promising to the world as it looks in experimental inferences.