Virtual Reality Can Help in Treatment of Schizophrenia

A significant medical trial for mental health treatment just kicked off within the UK — and it involves virtual reality.

Organized by VR remedy outfit gamechange, the government-funded program seeks to find out if VR may help folks affected by schizophrenia and other mental health conditions.

The gameChange trial started on July 1 within the UK. It’ll last 18 months and puts patients into VR recreations of real-world conditions they may find difficult, like getting on a bus or strolling down the street.

“The gameChange VR therapy is for folks with situations such as schizophrenia whose fears have triggered them to withdraw to such an extent that everyday tasks – similar to getting on a bus, doing the purchasing, speaking to different folks – are a problem,” Daniel Freeman, gameChange lead researcher, mentioned in a press launch. “It goals to assist sufferers to re-engage with the world and go into everyday conditions feeling more assured, calm, and in control.”

The idea is that spending time in virtual versions of irritating situations may assist folks better address the real factor. Greater than 400 patients throughout England will participate within the trial courtesy of the UK’s National Health Service.

One trial patient, who only went by Peter, had positive things to say about it in an interview with Forbes.

“Whether or not it’s walking down the road or getting a bus, you need to use the VR to practice being in those places to beat the negative intrusive ideas to build your confidence,” Peter advised Forbes. “So while you go back into the actual world, you feel rather much better.”

While VR is commonly sold to consumers with enjoyable gaming applications, its function in therapeutic endeavors might be essentially the fascinating factor about the technology. Researchers have used VR to try to help amputees and children with autism, for instance.

The proliferation of affordable, high-quality VR headsets just like the Oculus Quest means we’ll most likely see more and more stories like this within the next few years.

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Ginger Baker

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