The Role of VR in Treating Phobias and Post-Traumatic Stress The Role of VR in Treating Phobias and Post-Traumatic Stress
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The Role of VR in Treating Phobias and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Treating Phobias and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Role of VR in Treating Phobias and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Introduction

The goal of virtual reality is to mimic reality and create an immersive and interactive environment. The success of a virtual reality experience can be measured by its ability to replicate the real-world environment that it seeks to replicate.

Virtual reality has been used to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a variety of other mental health conditions, such as phobias and anxiety, as well as depression.

How does VR work?

From a visual point of view, the components of the VR system work together to create “sensory illusions” that create a more or less realistic simulation of reality. These “feelings” appear realistic because they trigger brain and behavioural responses in response to virtual stimulation that mimic those of the real world. Not only do experiences appear and sound very realistic, but physical objects can be felt in the virtual world as well. Haptic gloves offer both texture and resistance feedback that simulate physical interaction in the digital environment. This dynamic interaction allows the user to “engage with the VR environment more naturally and intuitively” and provides the “feel” of being there.

VR Exposure Therapy and Phobias

Exposure therapy is a common treatment for phobias. It involves introducing a controlled object or situation that the patient is afraid of into their environment.

The treatment usually starts with the patient picturing what they are afraid of, then gradually adding more and more physical objects to the environment. As the client becomes more aware of their surroundings, they become more aware of their fears and gain control over them.

Exposure therapy works just as well in virtual reality (VR) as in real life. Virtual balconies and virtual rooftops can be used to treat acrophobia, a severe fear of heights. Other phobias can also be treated in VR settings underlining the application of VR in medicine.

Eg:-
Claustrophobia – an intense fear of being trapped in small spaces
Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
Aviophobia – fear of flying
Glossophobia – the fear of public speaking
Agoraphobia – the fear of open spaces and situations where escape is not possible. Etc.

Although there is still some doubt as to whether virtual environments can evoke the same level of stress responses as physical environments, they continue to be effective treatment tools and as virtual reality continues to develop further, the difference between digital and physical experiences will continue to diminish.

For therapists, virtual reality is a powerful tool to facilitate and manage emotional engagement with clients while helping them work through their fears, anxieties, and traumas.
Can VR Therapy help treat very specific disorders?

In post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Virtual Reality (VR) exposure therapy is effective in treating PTSD.
The therapist will first evaluate the needs of the patient based on the nature and severity of the trauma.
The virtual environment can be tailored to the patient and their needs.
For example, a specific time of day can be used, as well as sounds specific to the device used (such as a gun or vehicle) and the environment can be customized to suit the patient’s needs.
Virtual reality can also be used to treat those who have been through a traumatic event such as a terrorist attack, disaster, or war.
Studies have shown that up to 90% of people suffering from anxiety can be relieved after just 6 one-hour sessions of VR exposure therapy.

Conclusion

VR technology has emerged as a promising tool in the treatment of phobias and PTSD. Its immersive and controlled environments enable therapists to deliver effective exposure therapy, promoting desensitization and emotional processing. As VR continues to advance, it holds great potential in enhancing the therapeutic outcomes for individuals struggling with these mental health conditions. Looking for the best virtual reality company? No doubt, AR VR Solutions ranks highest and is technologically forward.

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