Virtual reality to fight opioids? One researcher aims to treat addiction with joysticks
March 22, 2018
Video games were once Noah Robinson’s only way to cope.
When he couldn’t bear the challenges of growing up as an outsider, he fell into immersive worlds that eased his tensions and helped him feel less alone.
Now, as a graduate student at Vanderbilt University, Robinson is applying the same premise to an unconventional, high-tech therapy that might help addicts get a firmer grip on recovery.
By immersing them in a virtual world of swirling colors and abstract shapes, and then layering psychological principles over that experience, Robinson hopes to help patients separate themselves from the negative emotions and cravings that fuel addiction.
If he succeeds, his mentors believe he could be at the forefront of a groundbreaking new treatment for addicts, one that could prove to be especially significant as the nation battles the deadly opioid crisis.