Virtual reality: A new tool in the fight against addiction

TechRepublic's Karen Roby spoke with a recovery center in Kentucky that is using VR to help clients facing drug and alcohol addiction.

Virtual reality: A new tool in the fight against addiction

Virtual reality is improving healthcare in a number of ways. Patient care is changing as clinicians are using VR to transport people beyond the office setting.

The technology can be especially useful for those battling issues related to addiction.

Renew Recovery, a treatment center in Louisville, KY,  is using VR with their clients seeking help for alcohol and drug addiction. 

Stan Milburn has been sober for five and a half years; he serves as the Director of Patient Engagement for the center. "In active addiction, everything is so chaotic, and you are acting on impulse," said Milburn. VR is helping clients learn important elements of the program like mindfulness, responsibility, and self-confidence. Milburn said it's convenient and a nice change from a typical classroom setting. "With virtual reality, the guy is right there in front of you and is explaining things in terms that everyone can understand." 

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Renew Recovery is using software developed by Kentucky based BehaVR. Aaron Gani, the founder, and CEO, said the program is being used in many different clinical settings. "The idea is you go into the headset, and we take you to a place and in a set of experiences that help you cope with whatever you are going through,'' said Gani. 

Virtual reality is just one more tool clinicians at Renew Recovery have at their fingertips to use in assisting clients in need. "The technology is very accurate in explaining what people experience when they're in active addiction and then going into recovery," said Milburn. 

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