Neuropsychiatric disorders occur in over 450 million patients worldwide (and counting). According to the World Health Organization, it is becoming one of the main causes of disability, and as far as our understanding of these kind of diseases goes forward, our collective acceptance and support for these patients will also grow, making us a better society that will understand, accept, and help the people that suffer from these pathologies.
But, it is not only about good wishes, it’s about doing something else to make the difference. This was the case for the researchers from SPACEMEDEX at Valbonne Sophia-Antipolis, France. They have taken the job of analyzing the possibilities of AR/MR/VR and give us an insight of how they can be used to treat this kind of pathologies. First of all, they have made clear that the main attractive of these technologies is the capacity to generate/simulate/recreate any number of scenarios, and it’s something that really interests the psychiatrist community.
Simulation capabilities are often associated with exposure therapy (we have already talked about it), but certainly Augmented Reality is limited in this capacity, and this is when Virtual and Mixed Reality (like Windows Holographic) enters the frame. Basically, every single situation could be portrayed: afraid of the clowns? we could start with a small and shy mime and as time passes finish with a whole circus, afraid of the heights? select which floor you want to be in and it will be a reality. These kind of interventions is what is going to make any patient progress, and that’s what is going to bring a whole new perspective to the treatment, which only happens because alternative technologies and their infinite spectrum of possibilities.
There’s also a good amount of possibilities for rehabilitation in the psychiatric field, for example substance abuse or even for some conducts, safer and amicable environments could be generated in order to help the patients to avoid thoughts that could allow them to relapse in any sort of conduct or substance that the patient is in rehab for. There are mantras and situations that the patients use to avoid these problems, and alternative technologies could be used to help the patients find safe passage through these situations, and even help them to find other scenarios where they are immune to these temptations if the patient is educated in how to use this technology.
Other interesting theories call for pain management therapies, where alternative technologies could help find out a relation between the stimuli and the media that evokes it (or maybe diminish it), but this is in a very early phase. At ARinMed, we are really interested in any more possibilities of these technologies in the medical field and really appreciate the creative and interesting ideas that this team came up with.
Do you have any other idea for alternative technologies and psychiatry? Please let us know in the comments section!