Addiction Solution Source

Virtual Reality and Coping Skills

May 2nd, 2008 · No Comments

Most addicts have a difficult time coping with life, so here is a new idea to think about for drug addiction treatment . . .

A new study by University of Houston Associate Professor Patrick Bordnick found that a virtual reality (VR) environment can provide the climate necessary to spark an alcohol craving so that patients can practice how to say “no” in a realistic and safe setting.

He investigated VR as a tool for assessing and treating addictions. He studied 40 alcohol-dependent people who were not receiving treatment (32 men and eight women). Wearing a VR helmet, each was guided through 18 minutes of virtual social environments that included drinking.

The participant’s drink of choice was included in each scene. Using a game pad, each rated his or her cravings and attention to the alcohol details in each room. Each then was interviewed following the experience.

“What we found was that the VR environments were real enough that their cravings were intensified. So, now we can develop coping skills, practice them in those very realistic environments until those skills are working tools for them to use in real life,” Bordnick said.

“This study shows us the value of using virtual reality as a tool for assessing and treating addictions. Future studies should explore the importance of environmental settings and other cues on cravings and relapse,” Bordnick said.

Photo credit: Professor Patrick Bordnick

More info: sciencedaily.com? /releases/2008/04/080428175336.htm

Tags: Drug Addiction Alternative Treatment

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