New Frontier to Help Addicts: Virtual Reality
Researchers put them in fake worlds, help them learn to cope
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2013 1:40 PM CDT
A screen grab from a video at Psychology Software.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Addicts looking to kick their habit in the real world might benefit from doing so first in a virtual one. At least that's the theory behind a growing body of research, explains PopSci. The idea is to have the addicts play a game of sorts in which their characters get plunked down into situations—tailored specifically to their own histories—where temptations lurk. When the cravings arrive, the researchers can stop the game and give the addicts help on how to deal with the urges.

The story checks in on two programs, by researchers at Duke and the University of Houston, which expand on a long-held theory called "cue reactivity." But now, instead of conducting such experiments in an antiseptic lab, researchers can immerse their subjects in a more lifelike, if virtual, environment. So does it work? Early results are promising, but "the technique is still way too new—and the scientific literature way too sparse—to declare virtual reality some sort of junkie panacea," writes Colin Lecher. The hope, however, is that it proves successful enough to get added to the mix of treatments available.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
New Frontier to Help Addicts: Virtual Reality is...
2%
70%
0%
15%
0%
14%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 8 comments
fractal
Apr 28, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
Ibogaine is way more effective.
Mr_Joshua
Apr 27, 2013 6:28 PM CDT
New from EA games. The Sims on Acid !!! Be your own junkie. Standard Game US$39.99 Extended Version US$49.99 (Extended version comes with the extended character-sets, Including alcoholics, methheads, twice as many hookers, new slum city sets and the new bonus Linsday Lohan party slag plug-in) *The Lindsay Lohan plug in can be ordered with or without ankle bracelet and prison options. And you can call me....................Mr Joshua .
JoeQ
Apr 27, 2013 3:33 PM CDT
Wouldn't work on video game addicts.