Integrating Virtual Reality into Rehabilitation and Recovery
The trending emerging technology in a vast majority of occupational fields is virtual reality. Professions ranging from marketing consultants to school teachers are embracing the opportunities this new technology offers. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are no different. Across the globe, several substance rehabilitation programs are in the evaluation stages of recovery supported virtual reality software. In the United States, one Vanderbilt student has dedicated his entire postgraduate career to developing a program to aide those in the throes of addiction. Several people told him his pursuits were pointless, all attempts thus far on addiction have failed or seen mild achievements. The Vanderbilt student used the criticisms as motivation rather than a determent. It is not irrational to try anything when nothing has fastened.
It is vital for the programs being developed to be precisely realistic. Addicts know their vices better than they know themselves. If the situations being simulated are not accurate, it will be difficult for the operating system to have lasting positive effects on patients. The smells, sights, and temptations must meticulously mirror the real world. The simulated scenarios produced offer users a unique experience to tackle their demons head on without the fear of allurement. Therapists are able to walk through the reproductions virtually as avatars alongside patients and mentor them through the virtual worlds. A produced setting may display a house party full of intoxicated adults offering enticing parcels. Another plot may exhibit a bar where walls are lined with the individual’s favorite liquors. It is unrealistic to tell patients their temptations will not linger or reappear once they leave rehab. Each scenario would target a specific trigger for a user to confront and conquer.
When patients are overwhelmed, it is difficult for them to quiet their minds enough to absorb information presented to them, and perceive tools that will assist them moving forward. Computer simulation gives users a healthy outlet from the stress and anxiety of recovery, and allows patients to fully comprehend and transcend through the intended lessons. Additionally, virtual reality grants applicants the intelligence to cushion anxiety, mitigate stress, and tackle recollections that have resulted in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Addressing formidable experiences through virtual reality gives users the chance to recognize that “the present cannot hurt you.”
After virtual reality is successfully implemented into rehabilitation centers worldwide, the goal is for those in recovery to have access to these products while completing their after-care plans. Virtual reality will ultimately be introduced to adolescents during their formative years familiarizing them with the dangers of mind-altering substances.