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article imageVR’s emerging role in medical detox

By Tim Sandle     Jan 18, 2020 in Health
There are many types of addiction and overdose and coming off an addictive substance is challenging. To assist with the detox process, medical staff are turning towards virtual reality technology as a solution.
In an example of such an application, Kyle ER & Hospital, which is a community hospital in Kyle, Texas, U.S., and Cynergi Health Partners have paired virtual reality with traditional medication-assisted detox to ease apprehension and panic during withdrawal from opioids, alcohol and benzodiazepines.
Commenting on the success of the pilot, Dr. Harbir Singh (from Kyle ER) said: “Our community hospital paired a suite of virtual reality experiences —which can reduce apprehension and panic during withdrawal—with a traditional medication-assisted detox program for patients suffering from substance abuse.”
He added: “We've used the latter for many years, but the virtual reality component adds soothing imagery and sounds and leverages proven psychological techniques to make the process easier.”
Dr. Singh is of the view that virtual reality could help people in different stages of treatment: acute detox, intensive outpatient therapy, or long-term rehabilitation.
He explains more in the following video:
Virtual reality treatments function as a type of exposure therapy. Such approaches are frequently applied to patients with anxiety disorders. Through a process of repeated contact with situations or stimuli that usually trigger adverse emotions, patients can learn how to better manage real-life encounters without distress.
The company behind the technology - Cynergi Health Partners – has developed a suite of virtual reality experiences. These are based on a combination of psychological techniques and soothing images and sounds, where the aim is to make medication-assisted detox easier.
The new innovation and case notes of the success of the trial were featured at the CES 2020 Digital Health Summit, which took place on January 8, 2020. This year’s event showcased 175 innovative companies in operating in the health and wellness technology space.
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