Tag Archives: anxiety disorder

Virtual therapy ‘helps with depression’, researchers say (incl. video)

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“A new therapy which involves a patient embodying themselves in a virtual reality avatar of a crying child could help with depression, research has suggested.

Patients wear a headset that projects a life-sized image, firstly of an adult and then of a child.

The project is part of a continuing study at University College London.”

By Dominic Howell at BBC News

Image: University College London

Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35558447

Bravemind provides virtual reality therapy

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“Freeman Health System’s Ozark Center in Joplin has three Bravemind devices— one for adults, one for children and another just for veterans.

The subject puts on headgear that has a 360-degree perspective and replicates for veterans desert scenes like they would have witnessed serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The virtual-reality machine is an extension of prolonged exposure therapy, where the veteran will re-experience a traumatic event repeatedly in a safe place while being counseled by a professional.

Engaging with the trauma allows patients to change their reaction to stimuli, desensitize the trauma and allow for healthy coping mechanisms.”

By Sofia Sanchez Salcedo at Neoshow Daily News

Read more: http://m.neoshodailynews.com/article/20151112/NEWS/151119579

Virtual reality used to treat schizophrenia, psychosis and bipolar

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“Researchers in London are using virtual reality to help better understand and treat psychological disorders.

Dr Lucia Valmaggia a psychological researcher at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London, is using virtual reality technology to help treat schizophrenia, psychosis, anxiety and bipolar disorder.

By wearing a virtual reality headset patients can be placed in virtual environments that have the potential to cause them stress, anxiety or paranoia.

The technology allows for the patient to be put in a space which may act as a trigger, like public transportation or confined and crowded spaces, but in a controlled environment.”

By Alice Milliken at Newsweek

Image: Robert Galbraith at Reuters

Read more: http://europe.newsweek.com/virtual-reality-used-treat-schizophrenia-psychosis-bipolar-330365

Afraid of spiders? Try virtual reality therapy

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“Therapists do not typically keep boxes of live spiders in their desks. That can make it tricky to treat patients suffering from arachnophobia using exposure therapy, one of the most popular ways to combat phobias.

So startups and universities are starting to treat phobias using virtual reality. With realistic and immersive technologies like the Oculus Rift, therapists could help a patient overcome crippling fear using safe, easy-to-wrangle simulated spiders.”

By Heather Kelly at Money CNN

Read more: http://money.cnn.com/2015/04/29/technology/virtual-reality-therapy-phobias/

Beyond gaming, the VR boom is everywhere—from classrooms to therapy couches

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“From trauma treatment to space exploration, VR is more than just fun and games.

While researchers have been proving the clinical value of virtual immersion therapy for decades now, the new wave of virtual reality technology has the potential to take the concept from the realm of academic research to widespread adoption by doctors and patients.

Even with today’s technology, a virtual reality version of a battlefield isn’t going to be as authentic as immersion therapy in the real world. Still, VR immersion therapy has been shown to be just as effective as “en vivo” real-world immersion therapy in treating everything from common phobias to deep-seated anxiety. Dr. Marat Zanov, a clinical psychologist and director of training at VR therapy firm Virtually Better, points to hundreds of clinical studies that have shown virtual therapy is “at least as effective as a real approach.”

The virtual classroom

We’re a long way from [a] kind of completely virtualized classroom, of course, but some teachers are taking the first steps toward it.

Mathieu Marunczyn is at the forefront of this effort. As the Information Communication Technology coordinator at the Jackson School in Victoria, Australia.

“[For] kids with sensory processing disorders, school days can be just overloading. [Virtual reality can provide] a way that you could carefully have them go into these environments that for them are peaceful,” he said.

While some are concerned that current virtual reality headsets are too isolating and anti-social for a learning environment, Marunczyn finds that VR has actually been a great tool for socialization for his students. “I don’t let these kids just drone out on it… They talk, they just chatter through it, and they want everyone around them to know [what they’re doing], even if they don’t really want to know,” he said.

“[I’ve valued] the language and discussions that have come out of it more than anything,” he continued. “Especially the first few times when they get lost in a new environment or whatever—there’s such huge interest in it and curiosity. In our environment, it’s those language skills, it’s the socialization that we really value. Parents have spoken to me a number of times—they said, ‘My son, he came home and he said he went out in space in your class. It was amazing!”

By Kyle Orland at Ars Technica

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/10/beyond-oculus-the-vr-boom-is-everywhere-from-classrooms-to-therapy-couches/