Technology advancement in the medical sector is not something new to us. But some miracles are happening that will change medical science dramatically. By merging virtual reality with mental issues treatments, now your living room can turn into a therapy center. In a controlled way, managing the treatment intensity by health professionals will be easier.
Before VR advancement, people used to think VR was damaging for mental health, but, the reality is a bit different. Now, it’s not only being used to deal with grey matter but to deal with the different disorders as well.
What kind of brain issues are being treated by VR?
There are a few major brain disorders, once which were hard to deal with but, thanks to VR for better yet quick outcomes. Before getting down to the details, it is important to know that not all therapy programs are worth deploying in real-time situations.
According to Stephane Bouchard, the Canada Research Chair in Clinical Cyberpsychology at the University of Quebec, he witnessed a few startup companies that were sharing untested therapies. More, he added, there must be clear rules, before introducing any of the therapy programs.
Treating Schizophrenia with VR
It’s a chronic brain disorder, which can run to the genes and can develop later as well due to different reasons. Out of the top symptom, disorganized behavior and speech, delusions, hallucinations, and a few others are on the top of the list. To deal with it, few therapies are introduced after being tried and tested. Using VR as therapy will not only be a safe option for the health professionals but will motivate the patients as well to get rid of such issues.
VR-based headsets will let patients explore places where they aren’t meant to be in real life to overcome their fears. Furthermore, according to the situation, a custom program will create avatars, so the patient can talk to them if they are facing intense hallucinations.
According to Daniel Freeman, (who is an American author of different books and research papers, based on various brain issues) in one of the research papers:
Two leading therapies, cognitive VR therapy, and VR exposure therapy pairing for the patients with intense fear or trust issues. Both therapies are a bit different, but they both have the same common outcomes. For taking an initial step, VR exposure therapy is the best one so far, and, it will let the patients experience different anxiety-provoking situations. To the aesthetic results, cognitive VR therapy will give the patient freedom to encounter their fears in a realistic environment.
Specially programed computers, visual immersion devices and artificially created environments by VR are tending to take patients into another world via a single headset.
Use of virtual reality to improve lack of social skills
It is one of the child issues of schizophrenia and is the biggest anxiety-provoking factor in patients. In the traditional treatment method, there are three leading aspects. In which conversation skills (Introduce yourself), assertiveness skills (Reject a demand from another person), and emotional expression skills are included. VR-based programs will make the patients feel comfortable to express themselves by interacting planned environment accordingly.
In a recent research paper by Kyung Min Park (senior author from South Korea) and his colleagues, notable changes were found in the results of both patients treated by VR integration and by old methods.
Healing Delusions and Hallucinations with Virtual reality
Auditory hallucinations are the second child illness of schizophrenia in which patients will start creating different perceptions. All of these could be someone talking to them, a specific voice, music, and many others. With the help of virtual reality advancement, few programs have been developed on the initial stage, which will let the patients talk to virtual avatars. This is one of the best ways to let them get rid of their issues. After a successful deployment of VR on patients, a dramatic decrease in auditory hallucinations scores has been noted.
Are there any challenges for such advancement?
Initially, the only challenge that is on the board is, providing all the technical support for the bigger setups to get better results. On the other edge, worldwide training sessions for health professionals must be conducted to overcome different brain sicknesses smartly.
Apart from this, clinical trials in a real-time environment are needed to deploy the system on a bigger scale. Additionally, there must be a few standards and rules for the therapy programs before offering them to the public.
Moral of story
Virtual Reality deployment will not only help to cure different mental disorders but, will attract more patients to be willing for treatment. Also, for health professionals, it will get easier to deal with uncertainty and to treat their patients in a controlled way. To make life easier for people with psychosis, virtual reality can do wonders.
Repeating therapy programs with VR will also decrease the overall cost, which is something more than a blessing.