Augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) is seeing increased usage throughout every industry fathomable from health-care to the service industry, from business to banking. In this article, we will look at just how profoundly augmented and virtual reality impacts the medical and social intricacies associated with our addictions.
New app, Interventionville, is aiming to do just this, and with our current knowledge of how to form positive habits by proactive rehabilitation is showing just how poignant augmented reality tech is becoming in not only treating addictions, but developing day to day habits.
Interventionville – addiction app of the future
Founded by doctor, Matthew Prekupec, Order 66 Labs is the company behind one of the strongest initial showings when it comes to VR and AR’s ability to replicate a soothing, rehabilitative environment for addicts. The app allows the patient to browse treatment options in a virtual village, clinic or hospital and provides first-hand experience as to how each treatment for their addictions will feel. Picking a treatment type is a crucial first step, and the stigma and potential shame of physically going into a treatment center is bypassed through the addict's use of a VR headset.
Comfort and support groups are also available in Interventionville, with the ability to share your story in a safe environment, without the fear of feeling judged or inadequate. For introverted patients or patients who are not comfortable with the limelight of these support groups, it makes the process easier to start.
A more sensitive aspect of the app is the five character models used to show the debilitating side-effects of highly toxic drugs. From end-stage alcoholism to heart failure from stimulant use, to an opioid overdose, this section of the app can open your eyes to the slippery slope of using. Users of Interventionville can skip this section as it is fairly graphic and unsettling.
How changes we see through AR and VR profoundly impacts our habits
Behavioral science addresses why people do the things that we do. Treating behavioral problems, including addictions, focuses on pharmaceuticals and mental rehabilitation via counseling and psychotherapy. The mind is shaped in such a way that seeing is believing, and visual stimuli impact the brain to a high degree.
Evidence coming out of places like Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab show that changing one’s body shape in any way in a virtual reality environment briefly changes one’s behavior in the real world. Books like Psychocybernetics highlight similar principles in that deep visualization and belief brings about the most significant change in one's life.
AR and VR based behavioral programs don't revolutionize this sentiment but accelerate it. The mind grasps onto visual stimuli, and the overlays and sensory experiences that AR and VR offer, use this fact to its advantage.
While VR and AR technologies will not outright replace other forms of rehabilitation, adding AR and VR technologies and programs to existing methods of recovery has made a significant impact.
With prices of these technologies dropping, more institutions, businesses, and communities are adopting this technology. Classified as a form of psychotherapy, it can also help people adhere to healthy habits that they carry on outside the augmented and virtual reality space.
Advances in body tracking add to the immersion of the experiences in VR and AR, which will undoubtedly allow even the most technologically inept person to feel comfortable.