Virtual Reality for Recovery – an Emerging Tool in Treatment

Patrick Bordnick, associate professor at the University of Houston and recent TEDx speaker, has begun a unique study on addiction recovery involving the University’s Virtual Reality Clinical Lab. Computer-generated, VR (virtual reality) simulates a ‘near-reality’ experience in which a user interacts in a seemingly real or physical way by use of special electronic equipment, such as VR headset. Virtual reality for recovery has the potential to be a life-saving development in the field of addiction recovery.

The university’s lab features a series of “virtual drug caves,” in which addicts navigate different life-like scenarios. While in VR, they learn to identify and resist different triggers. Bordnick believes that the VR learning experience will transfer to reality, reasoning that taking addicts out of the traditional “therapist office” and putting them into a VR environment will help them get a clearer picture and improve interventions. He hopes to show that decreasing one’s cravings in the VR lab will lead to a similar decrease  in the real world.

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