When most folks hear the words “virtual reality,” it’s likely that one of the first things that they think of is the explosive growth of this new technology as it relates to the gaming industry. Popular gaming systems such as Oculus Rift, PS VR and HTC Vive use augmented, virtual reality to create a more immersive experience during game play.
VR makes it possible to not just watch the game from a 1st or 3rd person perspective, but, to actually use one’s physical body to run, jump, manipulate virtual objects, and otherwise move in the game. Increasingly sophisticated add-ons make it difficult for the brain to distinguish between the real, physical world, and the virtual setting of the game.
These features that make virtual games so fun and exciting to play are the very features that increase the likelihood of obsessive-compulsive behavior developing in gamers.
Healthcare and Education Two Industries Benefiting from Virtual Reality
The usefulness of virtual reality platforms is not limited to playing fun and exciting games, however. New companies are forming that use this technology to offer creative solutions to old problems. Now there are dozens of innovative new services that employ VR!
Some of these novel new services include learning how to play music without ever having to pick up an instrument in the physical world. You can even visit a virtual doctor to receive medical care without having to leave home!
Technological Advances Changing the Face of Addiction
One field that virtual reality holds the promise of changing in a unique and revolutionary way is addiction treatment. Addiction is both a disease and a problem for societies going back to ancient times when humans first discovered mind-altering substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and naturally occurring opioids and began to use them.
As with any substance, or practice, the more that one uses it, the more likely that abuse and actual addiction is to occur. Addictions are not limited to physical substances, but, repetitive behaviors such as gambling, shopping and sex can easily become addictive. Overuse of the Internet, Virtual Reality and gaming are obsessive-compulsive types of behavior that have only recently become recognized as actual addictions that may require treatment in order to recover.
Virtual Reality May Increase the Chance of Addiction – While Offering the Promise of Treatment and Recovery
VR technologies are now even being used to help treat addicts. There are only a few rehabilitation centers, such as The River Source, who are offering a virtual reality treatment program to help people recover from their addictions. The River Source recently partnered with Dr. Phil to offer a virtual reality treatment program and they are encouraging patients to utilize this technology to help better prepare themselves for the transition outside rehabilitation.
Unlike other addiction issues, where abstinence is a key focus of recovery, virtual reality offers the potential for treatment of the actual addictive behavior that its victims suffer from!
Currently, this form of treatment works in compliment with other strategies that help those that are suffering from technology addictions and other obsessive compulsive behaviors to remain sober and avoid falling back into patterns of behavior that are obsessive and abusive and disrupt the life of the abuser.
Using VR in Tech Rehab Novel Business Idea for the Economy of Recovery
Tech rehab is a relatively new concept in addiction treatment circles as the need for it simply did not exist just a few years ago.It is also a treatment method whose need is likely to continue to grow.
According to a 2015 study on Teens, Social Media and Technology, conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 92% of all teenagers report that they are online daily. Most state that they are “online constantly,” checking their email and social media accounts multiple times a day.
This behavior seriously impacts the abuser’s ability to focus and concentrate, which affects their performance at home, school and in the workplace. Depending on the degree of addiction, tech abusers lose interest in relationships with others in the real world and ignore their health, appearance and other elements of self-care which negatively impacts their health and well-being. Tech addiction is a real and growing problem that, combined with other forms of addiction, that likely costs society billions of dollars each year.
Scientists, psychologists and medical practitioners are only beginning to understand the impact created by disruptive technologies and how technological advances will continue to change the very ways that we work and live in our daily lives. Currently, the need for treatment from this type of addiction is a new and growing field. Creating a business model that uses virtual reality to help solve the very problem that it may have helped to create is one cool, promising business idea that may help to solve one of society’s oldest and most difficult problems.