Virtual Reality is the new buzz word in recovery right now. More people are struggling with drug abuse and alcoholism who seek innovative ways to treat their conditions. As standard protocol, it is not typically used for recovery from drug use but it is being widely researched to see if people who are addicted to opioids, alcohol, or other drugs may benefit from its use. Learn more about virtual reality as a therapeutic modality and how it might support people in recovery.
How it Works
Virtual Reality therapy (VR therapy) involves different things happening in a safe, supported setting with trained specialists. First is the exposure to a set of triggers and stressors that potentially cause a person to want to use drugs or drink alcohol. Through this, the person can face their fears, trauma, and coping mechanisms in a safe space. War veterans have benefited from the use of this technology in addition to people who have mental health conditions.
Psychology of VR
Within a supported environment, a person in a virtual reality simulation can experience some roleplaying between themselves and the therapist. Emotional responses are the biggest challenge a person faces in recovery because there is no way to know how the brain and body will react to certain triggers. As they arise, within a virtual setting, a therapist can help the person cope with the trigger and emotive response that follows. This can teach the person necessary skills so they can feel more empowered.
Eventually, it is important to consider relapse prevention tools and how to support people on a regular basis with virtual reality technology. The virtual world is not the real world, but simulating experiences a person may encounter can help prevent relapse from occurring. Support is crucial to helping people understand how they can heal from addiction and move forward in their lives. Even though more research needs to be done, the hope is VR can move into people’s homes at affordable rates, possibly even with an app on smartphones, which helps a person fight back against addiction triggers and cravings which might derail recovery. Until then, it is best utilized in the presence of trained therapists and counselors who understand addiction and mental health issues which need support overall from a wider community of experts, family, and friends to tackle it head on.
VR therapy is one thing that can be used in conjunction with traditional therapy, recovery groups, community support, and other means of healing. The goal is to provide new opportunities and invest in technology which can support a person’s recovery and provide space to grow in understanding.
The Last Resort provides a safe, supportive environment for men in a retreat-like setting. Nature is an important component of recovery and healing. We strive to provide a place of enrichment that cultivates the inner as well as the outer journey of recovery. However you find your way to the Last Resort, we endeavor to provide a haven where you can journey through recovery feeling like your life and story have meaning and a purpose. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.