A Different Approach to Mental Illness with VR

Every individual experiences a certain level of stress and anxiety in their lives. It can range from being mild or extremely devastating. This includes stress at work, family issues, relationship issues, and depression.  

Many disorders don’t require any drugs since there are highly effective treatments available as an alternative. However, there are still doctors who over-prescribe medications that are not effective at all. The worst part is that they have serious side effects. Through the use of technology, it’s no longer an option to experience these disturbing side effects. This is where Mental Illness VR treatment will come at play.

VR as a Global Treatment for Mental Illness

Virtual Reality has been used in the medical field for quite some time already. It is primarily used by therapists in administering treatments to the parents. One option is the Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy which is known as VRET. This is done in a safe and controlled manner.

It has not been readily available for use since there are cost and technology limitations. To solve this problem, affordable mobile VR has been released to make it accessible to public use. It is a decentralized mental health treatment known as telemedicine to improve the lives of people who are in need of mental illness care.

One of the challenges today is the needed clinical evidence and data to support the claim that VR can effectively administer treatment for mental illness either in a clinic or for remote use. Those companies who are planning to penetrate the VR market should execute controlled and adequately powered clinical studies.

A perfect example is a remote teletherapy given by practitioners. They use VR as a supplementary tool to deliver in-clinic VR therapy. It is done by using artificial intelligence as an alternative to a professional therapist.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Exposure Therapy

Cognitive Behavior Therapy is a pharmaceutical treatment given by a therapist trained in mental health disorders, especially in CBT. A limited number of sessions are also offered that is targeted on a specific mental health problem. In this kind of treatment, the patients identify the thought patterns that lead that lead to this destructive belief and behavior.

If a patient spends most of his time thinking about car crashes and accidents, he might avoid going out on cars.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy works by acting as a set of tools used to overcome limitations of patients receiving the treatment. They are provided with ways and methods of coping with their destructive thoughts and emotions. This type of therapy works hand in hand with ET, which motivates the patients to face their biggest fears and troubles. Through consistent administering of these procedures, the peak anxiety is lowered on patients who are exposed to the cause of their anxiety.

It has been making a breakthrough in stimulating anxiety-inducing stimuli controllably and adequately, to conduct ET and CBT. It has helped in controlling cases of childhood developmental disorders and autism.

PTSD: Treatment via VR

The use of virtual reality has been used extensively to administer prolonged exposure therapy for PTSD patients in the 90’s. One perfect application dated back in WWII. Even the Canadian government availed software for treating this mental disorder.

The software is made with different components like the VR environment to make the situation realistic and alive. A vibrotactile is also used to deliver a sensation that imitates surge of emotion when there are an explosion and firefights. A scent machine is also used to emit a certain smell matched with the scenario. All of these components are used to increase immersion.

A recent study states that VR therapy works as better as the combination of drug and VR therapy. Some of the drugs used are found to have caused severe side effects on the patient. Another clinical trial is investigating the use of Bravemind VR therapy to cure soldiers of sexual trauma.

Through enough funding from the Military, many studies have been conducted. However, agencies who only limited budget must still exert effort in demonstrating the clinical efficacy of VR for mental illness.

VR for Phobias and Anxiety Disorder

VR has been used in clinics for many years to treat phobias and anxiety disorders. There are almost 40 million individuals in the US who are affected by an anxiety disorder. Often, this type of mental illness is confused with sadness. Decentralizing the treatment can make a huge difference especially now that the number of people affected by this disorder is increasing in number.

On the other hand, phobias are also affecting a large number of the population. It is shown in some clinical trials that VRET is as useful in treating specific phobias as real-life exposure therapy.

A system is offered by the Virtual Reality Medical Center for those people who are flying. This system is equipped with software and hardware together with real-life airplane seats to mimic the experience of flying.

VR for Stress

VR is also notable in treating individuals who have high-stress levels that led to certain health conditions. It is normal to experience stress from time to time, but if it is already disrupting your usual activities, then that is the time that one should seek professional help from practitioners.

VR has been used in generalizing stress and anxiety. It helps the patients to be in a state of total relaxation wherein proper breathing is observed similarly in meditation. Indeed, VR has come so far in providing relief. Mental illness VR treatments are becoming more accessible due to the myriad of benefits it is offering.

The good thing with VR is that it also offers a solution to anxiety and relaxation. A VR game was recently released that uses meditation wherein the recipient gets to explore the beautiful underwater world. It is administered using the biofeedback technique.

Decades of studies have led to the improvement of mental health through the use of VR. However, more clinical studies are needed to support the claim that VR is useful in treating mental illnesses. Companies are focusing on developing clinical tools used by professionals to assist them in managing people with mental disorders. It is foreseen that after several years, more studies and trial would be conducted in order to support the use of Virtual Reality fully.



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