Correctional Medical Care's Mental Health Tech Week III
Mental Health Technology
A note from Correctional Medical Care:
For the past few weeks on CorrectionalMedicalCare.net, we’ve
decided to use this platform to outline and highlight recent and ever
evolving methods of mental health care.
The topic of technological advancements can polarize an audience;
some believe that with each step forward technology takes comes a
coinciding step forward for mankind. Others believe that we’ve
become too reliant on technology, citing our seeming dependence on
smartphones, television and tablet computers.
To view our blog posts, visit CorrectionalMedicalCare.net
Virtual Reality Today
Stepping further and further into the future, virtual
reality is the latest and greatest in gaming
technology. Allowing users to fully immerse
themselves into a new world of action, adventure,
sports or horror games, virtual reality headsets like
the Oculus Rift are quickly becoming a reality.
The potential for a technology like virtual reality is nearly
limitless as long as there are those who desire to expand
and explore the possibilities. Psychologists have been using
virtual exposure therapy for years to help patients overcome
a fear or phobia. Exposure therapy is often used to treat
those with PostTraumatic Stress Disorder, and has yielded
Virtual Reality Outside of Gaming
Is VR Safer?
Though the therapy does have its own risks associated,
virtually exposing patients to the trigger can eliminate a
good portion of those at the drop of a hat. And while it has
been used in the past, virtual reality has not been an
inexpensive treatment option before now.
Virtual Reality to Consumers
With the aforementioned Oculus Rift and Samsung’s
Gear VR becoming readily available to the public at
much lower costs than previously, the potential for
virtual reality treatments for those with mental health
disorders becomes all the more easily accessible.
The Safety of VR Continued
A patient who is in the process of seeing a mental health
professional is able to–either independently or through
guidance–identify the triggers and causes of anxiety, stress or
PTSD. From there, the virtual reality treatment becomes a
possibility, often one that is more easily accepted by the patient
than typical exposure therapy. Not only does VR offer the ability
to more safely expose someone to their triggers (such as an
airplane flight or spider), it is done at the leisure of the patient
and can be canceled at any time. The same cannot be said for
getting aboard a crosscountry flight.
VR and PTSD, and Beyond
And the uses for VR–even those that have been
experimented with in the past, before the technology was as
readilyavailable–extend beyond just phobias and PTSD.
Past virtual reality therapy methods have been used to treat
attention deficit disorder in children, sexual health disorders
in men, brain injuries, stroke, dementia, and schizophrenia,
among others. This wide array of potential disorders that
can be treated with virtual reality is only the beginning; as
the technology becomes more widespread and accessible
to mental health professionals new means of utilizing it are
bound to seep through the woodwork and into practice.