Tech & Science

Virtual reality can help make phobias history

Trust new tech to manage anxiety.

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Virtual reality enables us to do the impossible, it can transport us to the past, dive us deep into the ocean, and even take us on a trip to the supermarket. While that last suggestion might not sound so exciting – or impossible – this type of VR can actually transform the lives of many people.

That's because virtual reality can also be used as therapy to help people deal with anxiety. One company, Limbex, is using a form of virtual reality exposure therapy to help people overcome stress, social anxieties and phobias according to Free Think.

Exposure therapy is a cognitive behavioral therapy that enables people suffering from anxiety and phobias to confront their fears. Traditionally patients work with therapists in a guided and safe environment to expose them to the things they fear and avoid.

Using virtual reality, therapists can now really get into their patient's head and support them through various scenarios and experiences that they otherwise would not be able to do in-office.

With this treatment, patients can be exposed to triggers such as certain animals or insects, driving conditions, social situations, or to experience what triggered PTSD, and much more in a dynamic and measured way.

Through Limbex's prescription digital therapeutics VR Kit that use Google's Daydream View and a smartphone, patients can identify what situations set off their anxieties in a regulated environment, and very slowly increase that exposure. The therapist can see and control what the patient is exposed to via a connected tablet and take notes as to how the patient is reacting at each moment

Over 300 peer-reviewed studies report positive results from using Limbex's Kit in exposure therapy and Limbex is on track to receiving FDA approval for the treatment of several anxiety disorders according to Free Think .

The goal of Limbex is to provide practitioners with proven technology so that patients still receive personalized and safe care, all-the-while exploring more complex virtual circumstances. This is an important differentiation from other digital exposure therapy options, which people can access and perform alone at home through an application, potentially worsening their condition.

The company is making these advanced therapies accessible and affordable by digitizing them, while still ensuring safety and efficacy. Furthermore, by helping people conquer their fears, this technology can help wane thousands off harmful prescription drugs. This new improved quality of life will be a reality that is far from virtual.

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