Treatment by vr
Applications for the treatment of anxieties, addictions, eating disorders, stress and phobias. A complete Virtual Reality therapeutic tool for health professionals. Class 1 Medical Device.
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Virtual Reality Exposure Treatment (VRET) is a cutting edge therapy tool that makes it possible to safely expose patients with anxiety provoking stimuli – inside the practitioners office.
Exposure Therapy is a method proven to work. Numerous scientifical studies provides evidence that suggests that this method is efficient when treating phobias and post traumatic stress disorders.
Substance addictions may successfully be treated with Virtual Reality. Beeing used to treat the cravings behind the addictions, VR environments offers a way to create the stimuli connected to the cravings. Thus this new method allows cognitive and behavioral treatment of addictions.
Virtual Reality is used as a new and appreciated treatment method for eating disorders. This technology makes it possible to expose patients to high-calorie foods or changes in body shape. The possible treatments with this tool ranges from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Food Cravings, Unrealistic Expectations, and the cognitive disortion to the emotional impact food has on patients.
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WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY EXPOSURE?
Exposure therapy is a behavioral method based on the principle of habituation which is defined as the reduction of a reaction following the repetition of the stimulus which gives rise to it. Concretely, this involves confronting the subject with strict rules. stimuli triggering the dysfunctional response in order to obtain an extinction of the latter via the activation of the habituation.
Several forms of exposure exist such as the exposure by imagination, where the patient is invited to confront imagined feared situations (being behind the wheel of a car on the highway, speaking in public during a meeting), secondly there is “in vivo” exposure where the subject is placed in a concrete exposure situation. For example, for a patient who is afraid of dogs, the therapist will first confront him with a small dog placed behind a fence and then gradually will reduce the existing proximity between the patient and the dog. Finally, the last form of exposure is virtual reality exposure. Via the computer add-on and through a synthetic realization of real environments, the patient will be able to be exposed to situations provoking the dysfunctional emotional response. This technique has the considerable advantage of combining the advantages of in vivo exposure while benefiting from unique qualities (accessibility of environments, security, controllability).
WHAT PHOBIAS CAN BE TREATED BY VIRTUAL REALITY?
Almost all phobias can be treated by virtual reality. At C2Care, the most common specific phobias are targeted: Specific software is available to expose to the fear of driving (amaxophobia), the fear of flying (aviophobia), the fear of heights (acrophobia), the fear of animals (cats, dogs, insects), the fear of injections (belonephobia), fear of water (aquaphobia) etc.
Regarding agoraphobia, virtual reality solutions provided by C2Care are: virtual supermarket, metro with the possibility of modulating the flow of the crowd, airport, café, bars. A vast range of environments are immediately accessible for the exhibition.
Social phobia is a pathology that can also benefit from therapy by exposure to virtual reality. Conversing with virtual avatars, speaking in public, being placed under the watchful eye of one or more people are all situations of exposure that may be encountered by the patient-therapist during a treatment by virtual reality.
ARE THERE OTHER ANXIETY DISORDERS THAT CAN BE TREATED BY VIRTUAL REALITY?
The existing literature, combined with the reality of clinical practice, attest to this and offer very encouraging answers to the questions of therapeutic applications of virtual reality.
Therefore, we know that post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that can be successfully treated with virtual reality. Thanks to its inherent flexibility in its technological qualities, VR offers the possibility of artificially recreating traumatogenic contexts.
Also, the treatment of Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) by virtual reality is also being developed with expected success.
Anxiety as a co-dependent emotional substrate is a prime target for virtual reality. Feared by relaxation or by specific software, the anxious find an adequate response to their ailments.
AS A THERAPIST, WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING VIRTUAL REALITY DEVICES?
By equipping himself with devices allowing the realization of therapies by exposure to virtual reality (VRET), the therapist increases his field of competence.
VRET is a fully-developed care technique. Adopting this therapeutic solution creates an opportunity to distinguish oneself and stand out in the crowd, by offering the market a new and innovative solution.
In addition, far from being only a strategic asset for the development of a practice or an establishment, VRET benefits from the scientific validity of cognitive-behavioral therapies. In the reality of clinical practice, it is an asset favoring therapeutic engagement thanks to its playful aspect. In addition, this technology saves considerable time since many exhibition environments are directly accessible from the therapist’s office.
APART FROM ANXIETY DISORDERS, WHAT OTHER PATHOLOGIES CAN BE TREATED IN VIRTUAL REALITY?
The treatment of addictions, behavior and substances are pathologies that can be treated by virtual reality. Thanks to synthetic stimuli placed in the environments that causes the craving response (or urge to consume or perform a behavior), addicted patients will be able to work on their craving in order to mitigate the response of consumption. In addition, the multiple situations (bar, casino, social context) also allow cognitive work on dysfunctional beliefs related to the uniqueness of each temptation situation.
Regarding eating disorders, virtual reality software can target primordial etiological factors such as dysmorphophobia, allocentric lock and food craving.
In addition, we currently have in VRET care, multiple software responding to important psychiatric, psychological and neuropsychological determinants: relaxation, cognitive stimulation, behavioral activation, social skills.
Behavioral activation is a major therapeutic lever in the treatment of depression. By offering your patients the possibility of reliving the sensations linked to pleasure activities formerly invested (sport, driving, travel) you allow stimulation of the brain areas in hypo-activation and thus promote therapeutic success. Virtual reality appears to be a very interesting mediator to initiate investment in pleasure activities.
Furthermore, cognitive stimulation in the elderly is also a possibility offered by virtual reality. Facilitated by technology that makes stimulation activities more fun and easy, Nursing home patients and residents will be able to work on their executive functions and their memory via applications created for the specific needs of this patient population.
WHICH PATIENTS CAN BENEFIT FROM A TERV?
One of the considerable advantages of virtual reality is that it is effective over a wide spectrum of the population. Existing data from the literature on the subject shows us that it is entirely possible to expose this age group in virtual reality, with real therapeutic benefits. Studies attest to excellent feasibility and significant results in the management of anxiety disorders (including school phobia), autism, eating disorders, neuropsychological disorders. The results are identical for adolescents with a great added value regarding therapeutic engagement where virtual reality promotes adolescents’ interest in their therapy. For adults, the major pathological families are concerned: anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorder, addictions, eating disorders, psychotic disorders and thymic disorders. In the elderly, the results of studies encourage the use of virtual reality in order to work in cognitive stimulation, on behavioral disorders but also comorbid anxieties.