Virtual Reality All Set to Cure Mental Illness.

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The first thing associated with any virtual reality sets is most times video games and fun activities. But with the changing technology and development, the companies are planning to use these in order to treat mental illness, phobias, addictions and even anxiety.

Phobias are of various kinds some big, some small. Few phobias like spiders, claustrophobia (closed space) and plane travel can be effectively treated in patients by exposing them to their worst fears. Telesoftas, a mobile development firm of Lithuania believes that when the patient is exposed to fear in controlled situations, it can be controlled. They also believe that it can be achieved from the headsets in health professionals consulting rooms.

Algirdas Stonys, the CEO of Telesoftas, speaking to the AFP at Mobile World Congress said, “With virtual reality, you can create audiovisual therapies in a safe environment for phobics.” He also gave the example of a person with a public speaking phobia, and through virtual reality, he will be exposed to the public and overcome his fear of speaking through this. The company received funding from the European Union in order collaborate with academicians and to develop mental health apps for the virtual reality headsets.

Another company in similar field is a Spanish Startup, Psious which works on exposure therapies. They develop therapies to expose the patient to situations where they have to face their phobias in real or imaginary situations. The CEO Xavier Palomer Ripoll said, “But we thought that in this digital age, there had to be something more.”

Since three years the firm Psious has been implementing these psychoanalysis techniques with virtual reality wherein a doctor chooses the required environment. They also test the patient’s phobia by monitoring them and exposing them to fears in real life. The organization has raised one million euros, which is equivalent of $1.1 million in 2015 and provides this technology to almost 600 doctors who are based mostly in Spain.

Both the organizations, academicians and several Startups are working with the hopes of treating obsessive-compulsive disorders, post-traumatic syndromes (PTSD,) alcoholism and even smoking in some case. And if a success it will be a revolution in the world of technology.