While you are afraid of virtual reality, it cures fear of heights, snakes and spiders

I saw in your apartment creeping on the wall of the spider, and begin themselves in a panic to climb on the opposite wall – you have arachnophobia, fear of spiders. Can’t sleep without the light? You niktofobiya – fear of darkness. There are also more exotic options. Like you, for example, fear of money — chrometophobia? Or koumpounophobia – fear of buttons? Or pentheraphobia – fear of mother-in-law? Yes, there is such. The number of different phobias has handled over 40 000. And the feeling that every day appear new and new.


What is a phobia?

It is human nature to fear and worry, because it is one of the protective mechanisms that allowed us to survive during the evolution. Reasons to be afraid of something everyone has their own, and usually, over time, these fears can be themselves. However, there are times when anxiety turns into panic, and the usual feeling of fear turns into a phobia, which is very interferes with normal life.

Our phobias represent uncontrollable fear, often accompanied by an inadequate reaction to any situation, and objects.

Causes of phobias

The most common cause of symptoms of the phobia is a stressful situation. People could get past some negative experience: bitten by a spider in childhood, fell off his bike and was badly hurt, took the button and choked on… People can not even remember what exactly happened in the past, but being in the same situation in the present may trigger panic attacks. Another cause may be a hereditary factor. Many of our fears, for example, of heights, snakes, spiders, etc. are connected with our instinct and have a lot of people.


There are several ways to cure phobias, but recently began to gain popularity method of treatment using virtual reality. Doctors in the 90-ies saw a great potential use of virtual reality (VR) for the treatment of various psychological disorders. However, the computer time in comparison of today did not reach the desired level of realism.

Also interesting: Virtual reality will improve the medical skills of doctors

Significant progress in the quality of visualization and reduction of the cost of equipment has led to the fact that today VR technology is becoming very popular and most importantly effective tool in psychotherapy. According to some studies, when using a virtual reality effectiveness of treatment for mental disorders can be 30 percent higher than traditional methods.

There is such a thing — the exposure therapy. Under the supervision of expert people are asked to imagine what he’s afraid of, and then do some imaginary actions with this object. For example, a person afraid of spiders. He can imagine he sees a little spider in the corner of the room, and then asked to examine it closer. Then, gradually closer to an imaginary spider, he is taking the insect in his hands.

In the presented situation, the patient observes his behavior from the outside and tries according to the advice of a doctor different ways of self-regulation. This method is effective. But not all people have such a vivid imagination to imagine the object of his fear.

When you use virtual reality to present the uncomfortable situation is not necessary. Per person, it makes computer. It creates a three-dimensional image, which is perceived as the space around the observer. And then with the fears or other negative feelings may be “outside the head” of the patient in an external, virtual environment.

The example of the spider is just one of many. Today, virtual reality shows effectiveness in the treatment of fear of heights, claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), agoraphobia (fear of large open spaces), aerophobia (fear of flying), public speaking, death. There is evidence that virtual reality even reduces the sensation of pain.

Harm virtual reality

Perhaps the only negative consequence of being in virtual reality is cybercafepro. Our brain confuses virtual reality with the usual, so we get motion sickness in VR. You see the terrible there, and the body reacts here, as if everything is really happening.

The main advantage of VR-therapy is the possibility of treatment within the virtual space. With real objects and situations that cause fear, the patient does not interact. This allows a person with a phobia at a subconscious level, understand that all not so is terrible, as is the brain.

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