Tag Archives: anxiety disorders

The incredible future of VR isn’t video games or movies—it’s medicine (video)

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“An Argentinian psychologist named Fernando Tarnogol, has created a software platform called Phobos that uses VR to treat extreme fears and anxieties like acrophobia (fear of heights) and arachnophobia (fear of spiders) by mimicking the triggering conditions in a safe, controlled virtual environment.

Tarnogol hopes that in the future, people with a wide range of anxieties and phobias will use VR as a safe, low-cost supplement to traditional exposure therapy.”

Image, text and video by Cara Santa Maria for Fusion.net

Read more: http://fusion.net/video/278579/real-future-episode-10-doctor-vr/

Virtual reality is about to completely transform psychological therapy

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“The clinical use for VR as therapy has been generating a “rich scientific literature” for the past 20 years, according to Dr. Albert “Skip” Rizzo of the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies.

“Finally, the technology has caught up with the vision in this area, and I expect it to really take off in the next year,” Rizzo tells Tech Insider.

“It has not been the theory or research that has held back clinical VR, rather the availability, adoption and costs that have limited its widespread use.”

Image and text by Kevin Loria at Tech Insider

Read more: http://www.techinsider.io/how-virtual-reality-is-used-for-ptsd-and-anxiety-therapy-2016-1

Virtual Reality Therapy: Treating The Global Mental Health Crisis

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“Can virtual reality become a global mental health treatment platform?

Virtual reality (VR) has been used for decades as a tool for therapists to administer virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) in a safe and controlled manner. Due to cost and technology limitations, it has not been widely available, to date.

With the advent of affordable mobile VR headsets, such as the Gear VR, there is a new opportunity to apply telemedicine to decentralize mental health treatment, reaching more patients and improving lives around the world.”

By Alex Senson at TechCrunch

Read more: http://techcrunch.com/2016/01/06/virtual-reality-therapy-treating-the-global-mental-health-crisis/

2016 May Be The Year That Virtual Reality Can Treat Anxiety, Autism and PTSD (video)

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“A new video from The Economist claims that 2016 will be the year of the “virtual reality takeover”.

Perhaps most interestingly, virtual reality isn’t all just fun and games; it’s expanded into the medical world, offering new therapies for people suffering from autism, anxiety, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The video describes the use of virtual reality exposure therapy for a former soldier suffering from PTSD, noting that it can help ease the mental illness.

“We’re helping patients to confront and process difficult emotional memories by putting them back in simulations of what they were traumatized in,” Skip Rizzo, a psychologist who works with virtual reality exposure therapy, said in the video.”

By Lecia Bushak at Medical Daily

Read more: http://www.medicaldaily.com/pulse/virtual-reality-takeover-2016-may-be-year-virtual-reality-can-treat-anxiety-autism-367204

Emory Uses Virtual Reality To Treat Military Sexual Trauma Survivors

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“At Emory University, researchers are using virtual reality to treat veterans who suffered sexual abuse in the military and now have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emory University psychiatry professor Barbara Rothbaum has been using virtual reality to treat anxiety disorders since 1995.

Rothbaum said wearing a virtual reality headset to see and hear the sounds from a particular place can help patients confront what happened.

“A lot of military sexual trauma survivors have avoided relationships, crowds, going to the gym, so we figure if we can place them in that situation and have them go back to the time of the memory and recount it over and over, we’re hopeful that that can help them even more than regular therapy,” Rothbaum said.”

By TASNIM SHAMMA at WABE News

Image by ALISON GUILLORY / WABE

Read more: http://news.wabe.org/post/emory-uses-virtual-reality-treat-military-sexual-trauma-survivors

Virtual reality students explore phobia treatment

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“Two engineering undergraduate students at the University of Santa Clara, Paul Thurston and Bryce Mariano, devoted their last semester of college in Spring 2015 to treat acrophobia, the fear of heights, with technology using virtual reality goggles to simulate the sensation of being at high altitude during therapy.

Mariano and Thurston envision that a certified therapist and a patient would use the goggles together. The patient would view the three-dimensional world from a simulated perspective on top of a building, while the therapist would adjust the levels and exposure amount based on emotional and physical cues.”

Image and text by Agatha Kereere at S.F. Examiner

Read more: http://www.sfexaminer.com/virtual-reality-students-explore-phobia-treatment/

Virtual Reality Taking Patients to the Beach Before Surgery

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Image: Cubical Ninjas

“Hospitals can be intimidating and stressful places. But imagine instead of sitting in a waiting room, you’re on vacation at an exotic beach. Instead of focusing on post-surgery pain, your mind takes you to a lush forest in the soothing rain.

That’s what Glen Ellyn, IL-based Cubicle Ninjas wants you to do with Guided Meditation VR, a virtual reality app for the Oculus Rift. It’s exhibiting the technology this week in Chicago at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS).

Using an Oculus Rift, patients can choose from VR locations including a beach, forest, canyon, or ancient Japanese dojo to help improve their overall wellbeing. Cubicle Ninjas, a creative design agency, says hospitals can use virtual reality to reduce stress and anxiety before procedures, reduce pain after surgery, and make an extended stay in the hospital more exciting.”

By Jim Dallke at ChicagoInno

Read more: http://chicagoinno.streetwise.co/2015/04/13/oculus-rift-vr-app-from-cubical-ninja-helps-patient-medical-care/

Finding actual tranquility in virtual reality

Techniques like virtual reality exposure therapy, employed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, as well as various phobias and anxiety disorders by immersing patients in various simulated environments, have been in development among medical professionals since the early ’90s. And a wave of VR experiments in meditation are emerging: A selection of calm-inducing environments are ready for download via the Guided Mediation VR portal, and Babson College student Nina Vir, a competitor in last October’s HackingArts hackathon at MIT, presented a similar VR meditation concept called NiVRana.”

By Michael Andor Brodeur at The Boston Globe

Read more: http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2015/04/04/large/bqWlhjYw5y7EyzzHPDEaWL/story.html

Virtual reality therapy helps veterans, children

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“A veteran might be mowing his lawn on a peaceful summer’s day and suddenly the smell of gasoline from the lawn mower will trigger a flashback to a terrifying roadside bomb attack he experienced while serving in Afghanistan,” said Marat Zanov, director of training at Virtually Better, Inc.

Zanov tests virtual reality hardware used in conjunction with USC-developed software to treat veterans suffering from PTSD.

As a military clinical psychologist, Marat Zanov treated many cases of PTSD and a broad range of traditional clinical problems.

The day after leaving the Air Force, Zanov joined his friend Dawn McDaniel at Virtually Better Inc., a Georgia-based research and development startup that uses virtual reality technology to treat numerous anxiety disorders.

“We create a virtual environments where we can expose the patient to previously feared situations and get them comfortable in those environments so they can eventually overcome their impairment,” Zanov said.

McDaniel has also been instrumental in developing affordable online treatments, including a Web-based treatment for mild anxiety in children.

“If children are experiencing mild anxiety, their family can download a pirate-themed adventure that does all the same things at home we would do clinically in the office for a fraction of the price,” McDaniel said.

“We ask kids to develop lists of things they’re scared of and categorize them,” she said. “We then develop small steps toward their main goals. So if they’re scared of spiders, they may first go into a room with a spider, then approach the spider, until by the end of the treatment they are putting the spider in a cup and taking it outside.”

By Susan Bell, staff writer at the University of Southern California.

Read more: http://www.hypergridbusiness.com/2014/08/47551/

Virtual reality can help people conquer their phobias

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“Exposure therapy has proved a highly successful treatment for phobias, but it’s impractical for things such as fear of public speaking or flying. The answer may be virtual reality.

“Phobics know that when they see a little spider on the counter, they shouldn’t be panicking because technically it’s not dangerous,” says Stéphane Bouchard, a psychologist at the University of Quebec. “They’ll tell you, ‘I know this is crazy.’ But because they keep avoiding, their limbic system keeps associating spiders with danger or extreme disgust and they never undergo that corrective experience.”

For many types of phobia, however, traditional exposure therapy is not feasible. Crippling fears of public speaking or flying, for example, can be difficult to tackle practically. Over the past 10 years the solution has increasingly been the virtual world, utilising some of the technologies that brought us 3D cinema.”

By David Cox at The Guardian

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2014/oct/16/virtual-reality-phobias-public-speaking-flying