VR Therapy

VERVE HEALTH – Virtual Reality Addiction Exposure Therapy

The addiction experts at Verve Health have worked with some of the greatest scientific and technological thinkers to create Virtual Reality Addiction Exposure Therapy. Our mission – to help millions suffering life-threatening addictions.

Addiction treatment is constantly evolving, and at Verve Health, we take great pride in keeping well-informed of the latest medications and therapies. We are also committed to proactivity within our field, which includes working alongside top scientists to battle the epidemic of addiction and being prepared to try new and innovative approaches.

As addiction experts and industry leaders, we are committed to curing addiction permanently and saving lives. Therefore, we have worked extremely hard to unveil our proudest achievement to date – a brand new approach to addiction recovery.

Welcome to Virtual Reality Addiction Exposure Therapy – otherwise known as ‘VR Exposure Therapy’ – the most innovative and effective addiction treatment to date. This powerful new technology and therapy are available now at Verve Health. VR Exposure Therapy is already saving and changing lives by dealing with cravings head-on, with a highly trained professional on hand at all times.

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‘The clinical effects are also discussed. In almost every study that dealt with VR simulators, researchers have arrived at the same conclusion that both doctors and patients could benefit from this novel technology.’

To read more about this study, go here https://cutt.ly/qQrh1aR

Nick Conn, Founder and CEO of Verve Health, says, “we are consistently on top of all the modern treatments. Whereas many other rehab facilities are stuck in time, we’re ahead of the curve and constantly up to date with scientific data around addiction.” Nick is the host of the popular YouTube podcast ‘Connversations with Nick Conn’. He talks at length with leading experts about addiction and addiction recovery. At Verve Health, we know that knowledge is power, and when fighting addiction – power is crucial. ‘Coronavirus is a public health crisis for all of society, but for the past decade, people who use drugs – especially those dependent on opioids – have been facing their own epidemic. In its annual report on drug poisoning in England and Wales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that 4,393 died in 2019 – yet another rise from 2018.

This is the highest number of drug-related deaths since records began, and the north-east of England has a significantly higher rate than other English regions – another trend that has continued. The most deprived communities have rates of deaths that are five-and-a-half times greater than the least deprived.

To read more, go here – https://cutt.ly/UQrh3KO

Virtual Reality has been available for entertainment purposes for some time. It can invoke visions of participants walking around their lounges, with a plastic box on their heads, meeting dinosaurs, or drifting through the cosmos. Appreciating the engaging nature of virtual reality, Verve Health recognised that this underutilised technology could be at the heart of exposure therapy. So now Verve Health is the predominant rehab centre offering virtual reality for the therapeutic purposes of addiction recovery.
Studies have shown that:
  • VR exposure therapy provides a 39% lower relapse rate.
  • It gives patients an 87% higher chance of permanent recovery when combined with other therapies.
Substance abuse and behavioural addictions require a wide-ranging approach. Innovative technologies like VR Exposure Therapy significantly improve permanent recovery from addiction disorders. Studies have also shown that VR Exposure Therapy:  
  • Provides real-life access to dysfunctional beliefs and thoughts related to addiction.
  • Augments the therapeutic benefits of cognitive restructuring.
  • It is engaging, thus encouraging the patient to continue treatment.
  • The patient may overlook that they are in treatment, resulting in a more reliable, realistic and long-lasting recovery.

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What are the fundamentals of Virtual Reality?

VR is a real-life simulation using CGI images, sounds and scenes that can often be interacted with. VR can deliver sights, noises, and feelings so that the user has the sensation of being in a real-life situation. In addiction exposure therapy, the patient is placed in potentially triggering conditions surrounding their individual addiction problems. This tactic is called ‘exposure to craving’.

How does VR Exposure Therapy work?

‘Virtual reality can be more effective and less burdensome than real-life exposure. Optimal virtual reality delivery should incorporate in situ direct dialogues with a therapist, discourage safety behaviours, allow for a mismatch between virtual and real exposure tasks, and encourage self-directed real-life practice between and beyond virtual reality sessions.’

© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2017.

In VR Exposure Therapy, patients can virtually encounter substance abuse triggers and exposure to craving with a psychologist by their side, talking them through the experience. This technology offers the opportunity to synthetically replicate situations previously impractical in traditional therapy.

We commonly conduct VR Exposure Therapy in a group therapy environment. For example, those with anxiety could be swimming with dolphins under the ocean, listening to a guided meditation and relaxing music. It offers an escape from some of the debilitating symptoms of addiction recovery.

The software offers eighteen disorder treatment programs. For example, patients with body dysmorphia can put on the virtual reality headset and be asked to trace an outline of their body. The trained therapist will do the same. After the session, the participant can compare what they see contrasted to what the therapy sees. This exercise helps them to rewire the reality of their beliefs. This concept is at the core of how exposure therapy works – by rewiring the patient’s belief system about their cravings and their addiction.

‘Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and behavioral addictions are prevalent in many countries (Degenhardt et al., 2017) and require a multidisciplinary approach. Unfortunately, only a minority (7.1%) of patients, even in high income countries, receives adequate treatment. Individuals diagnosed with SUD experience several relapses after interventions and a lower quality of life because of the chronic nature of these disorders (Degenhardt et al., 2017). Therefore, there is an urgent need to conduct more research to expand assessment and treatment approaches. Virtual reality (VR) is emerging as one of the technological keys, it is increasingly accessible, and easy-to-use, and has recently attracted attention because of its potential utility for individuals with SUD (Carter and Tiffany, 1999).’ Go here for more information on this study – https://cutt.ly/DQrhLMg

At Verve Health, we’re ‘person-centred’. Thus, the program and therapy used on any specific individual would depend wholly on their situation. For example, it could be that the patient is triggered by a specific environment or smells and tastes. The options available on the software allows the patient to put themselves into the situations that trigger them the most. Thus, we can create bespoke virtual environments to best help the patient.

Three Modes

‘Immersive vs Non-Immersive Techniques’

The CAVE-like environment provides a totally immersive mode of VR treatment. While using the CAVE, your experience is totally controlled by the VR programming and your own reactions to it. However, if you are using non-immersive equipment like a desktop-like display, you are still exposed to stimuli from the actual world.

Non-immersive virtual reality techniques have had limited success because of their inability to completely engage the client in what is happening in the virtual environment. Immersive techniques make it easier for the client to experience the virtual environment as if it were an actual situation.’

For more information please visit here – https://cutt.ly/1Qe45Ms

A patient with specific substance addictions can virtually pick up any substance within a ‘three-mode setting’. Mode one is an ‘observation mode’ where the participant observes another person using a substance. The second is an ‘interactive mode’ whereby the virtual characters will offer the virtual substance to the participant. Finally, in the third mode, you can interact with the drugs yourself. For example, you can chop up cocaine, pick up a straw and effectively snort the drug. Likewise, you can buy alcohol in a bar setting, smoke a joint, or prepare a needle of heroin – the options are practically limitless. Although this therapy may at first appear counter-productive, remember that at the heart of everything that we at Verve Health, a patient’s permanent recovery is paramount.

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How is VR Exposure Therapeutic?

There are multiple therapeutic factors in VR Exposure Therapy. Predominantly, VR exposure triggers craving in the individual and then works closely with the client whilst in the throes of the craving. The concept is to shift the patient’s perceptions about the drink or drug.

So, if a line of cocaine is set out in front of the patient, or in the case of an alcoholic, a whiskey and coke is handed to them, we communicate with the client. We discuss how they are feeling and what sensations they are experiencing.

At Verve Health, we have a psychoeducational group. The group is continually feeding back about what they would potentially do in that situation. They are given a forum to share those ideas and thoughts and provide the participants with the opportunity to prepare for a real-life situation. As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’.

We prepare our patients for real-world situations. Once out of rehab, if the patient encounters a situation like the ones within our VR Exposure Therapy, it will not be the first time. This ‘practice’ gives the patient a much better chance of full recovery and much less chance of relapse. As we said, VR exposure therapy provides a 39% lower relapse rate and gives patients an 87% higher chance of permanent recovery when combined with other therapies.

VR Exposure Therapy is centred on the tenets of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. By exposing patients to triggering situations in VR, the therapist can therapeutically condition the patient. Progressively, they will become familiar with the anxiety surrounding the triggers. Through professional therapy, they can resist when presented with a real-life situation. This mindset shift is all made possible by deconditioning and exposure to the trigger.

The average duration of exposures for the treatment of addictions ranges from 30 to 60 minutes. The number of sessions required is down to the individual’s personal needs.

One of the first things that may pop into the mind when thinking about Virtual Reality is the cost; it has long been considered an expensive form of entertainment. However, through our innovation and research, we can now offer Verve Health VR Exposure Therapy at no extra expense. So, if you or your loved one enrols in a program at Verve Health, our VR Exposure Therapy is included. We offer this because we genuinely believe in VR Exposure Therapy’s effectiveness, which means that it comes at no extra cost to you. This is because we are dedicated to beating addiction.

At Verve Health, we know that together as leaders in addiction knowledge, along with leading innovators in VR technology, we can make huge strides towards beating addiction, changing lives, and ultimately saving lives,
If you or a loved one needs help beating addiction, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Verve Health. We are dedicated to helping addicts recover permanently.

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