Monday, May 28, 2007

Virtual Reality & Hallucinations
 recently highlighted the use of virtual reality technology for helping others understand what it is like to have hallucinations or delusions.

Created by Janssen Pharmaceutica, the virtual reality training system is being used to advocate for those who suffer mental illness, particularly Schizophrenia. Creating empathy, compassion and understanding is the goal of this technology. Several states are already using it as are law enforcement agencies, corrections departments and mental health professionals. It would be great if judges in the court system could have a go with this technology --- and so should everyone working in the Managed Care Health industry!

The system offers two interactive scenarios. In one, the subject experiences a bus ride where passengers randomly appear and disappear, where birds of prey claw at the windows and voices taunt and whisper. The other features a trip to the drugstore, where a pharmacist hands the subject poison instead of the prescribed medication, and hostile customers stare in disgust.


Fallen Angels said...

A couple years ago I came across a schizophreniz information site that had a brief video clip that was supposed to give someone an idea what hallucinations were like. It was a drugstore also. I don't remember all it had in it except the television in the corner of the waiting area...the people on the televeision kept talking directly to the person who was waiting for a script...not nicely talking either I might add. I think a virtual reality thing might be a bit more effective...since you would feel as if you were actually IN it and not just watching.


Clare said...

It's amazing what technology has to offer these days. Thanks for highlighting this Deb.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What a gift this technology is. I hope it makes a difference for those receiving treatment... as well as those providing it.

Raine said...

I think everyone should experience this. Friends, family and the general public. Just everyone. It would evoke a considerable amount of empathy for the mentally ill I think

Joel said...

Hmmmm. Could be helpful, could lead to a know-it-all attitude on the part of health care providers and a failure to listen to the patient when it comes to specifics of their experience.

The hallucinations you describe, for example, don't sound anything like the ones I and others I know have had.

It's a bit like telling someone that you're bipolar and hearing a lecture about what bipolar is all about based on a book they'd read once. With me, it often proves that they've embraced a Hollywood version of the disease and I don't really feel understood.

Nancy said...

I agree with raine "It would evoke a considerable amount of empathy for the mentally ill I think".
The mentally ill need empathy most of all, besides treatment from a kind and compassionate therapist.

Ian Lidster said...

Well, as Maxwell
Smart would have said: "If only our technology could be used to aid the Forces of Niceness."
I utterly agree with you Deb that our technology if used in the areas you suggest, could do so much for humankind, rather than being devoted to war, death, spying and destruction. Maybe there'll come a time.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Fallen,
I think it is a great start!

Dear GW,
You are the best at harvesting great info.

Dear Clare,
I thought it was a great idea. And hopefully more will come.

Dear Traci,
Taking away stigma requires empathy understanding and compassion. Knowing what an experience is like can give that to those who cannot imagine what it is like. Hope that run on sentence makes sense.

Dear Raine,
Yup, I'd like to see a few local judges in the court system here experience it.

Dear Joel,
I can see you POV, but I think this is a good start.

Dear Nancy,
Diluting stigma and raising awareness is what this is all about. Though I'm sure selling pharmaceuticals is part of the backstory as it was developed by a drug company.

Dear Ian,
LOL!!!! I really enjoyed your comment. I grew up watching "Get Smart". Remember the cone of silence? Anyway, all things good underscores my interest in the virtual technology. Though I know evil lurks in many a heart, I like to think this can open door and be helpful.


Candace said...

Oh yeah! I had seen something like this before, and thought it was wonderful! Thanks for posting this.

Hope said...

dial up hampers me from participating, but this would be very enlightening.
I have to comment on your last post, being Canadian, we usually see cute little bay seals surrounded by celebrities, like Bridget Bardot or Paul McCarteny ;)

jumpinginpuddles said...

ok once we read the article we got the meaning behind it. OOhh can they do it about a multiple, the arguing, the switching the constant noise, etc etc now that could prove interesting. I think this is areally good concept.

~Deb said...

It has to be completely overwhelming to experience what people go through who have schizophrenia. To them, it's reality. To live in such fear like that has to be mental torture. I really feel for these people. I used to volunteer for the Mental Health Assoc. in NY with people with disorders, such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, depression and other illnesses. I used to take them out to lunch or to the park, talk with them one-on-one, and they would tell me their experiences- as though it was real. You have to believe what they say. It just baffled my mind. (Of course they were on their medication when they were in my care), but I totally felt for them.

I think this is a great technique that all psychiatrists and psychologists should consider doing, just to put themselves in the other person's shoes.

Wanda's Wings said...

Great post.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Candace,
I heard of this, but hadn't read of it in print. Nice to see it in the media.

Dear Hope,
I know, dial up is yucky.

Dear JIP,
I think it is a great start!

Dear ~Deb,
Being in another's shoes creates empathy. It should be mandatory training for all!

Dear Wanda,
Thanks, buddy.


Sarebear said...

wow wow wow. No time to check it out this minute, but I definitely will later, and probably blog about it too; I am all about advocating for the mentally ill and ESPECIALLY fostering greater understanding and empathy.

Thank you SO much for posting this, and to you Godwhacker for sending it her way!

Shannon A. Long said...

Wow! How very cool! One can only hope this will lesson the stigma associated with mental illness.
Godwhacker finds the best articles. He puts the rest of us to shame.

Id it is said...

Technology to the rescue! However, oftentimes there are side effects that surface, but only after a while. Unfortunately, people tend to get hooked on to technology ever so fast. Let's hope this one's different.

Skye said...

Very interesting...very interesting. Great post Dr. Deb :)

alan said...

The law enforcement application should save some lives, and the other ones make some easier! Anything that can be done so easily must be!


Sarah said...

Are all hallucinations visual? Is there such a thing as an auditory hallucination?


Marj aka Thriver said...

Technology helping to increase empathy, compassion and understanding! All I can say is Wow, Fantastic!

Dream Writer said...

If I read correctly to my comprehension I think it is ridiculous.

To have a drug to LET others EXPERIENCE hallucinations so they can RELATE to those with a mental illness is a Mockery and a JOKE to those who have Mental Illnesses.

There is more to a mental illness than hallucinations and delusions.

And we all know that YOU don't need a Mental Illness to Hallucinate - jus Drink a bottle of Vodka and you will hallucinate all night long.

To take a bus ride and have people appear and disappear and so on...its a joke.

Sorry, but I cannot stand when Science Technology tries to Justify their experience and market it.

It wrong! I don't agree.

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Sare,
I think it is a great way to help others understand.

Dear Shannon,
Isn't GW a great blogpal?

Dear Id,
I think that virtual reality offers an environment that can teach and offer mastery. But with all things, it can be used for less desirable things or evil intentions. The dark side is always somewhere, sadly.

Dear Skye,
I thought it was a cool story to post.

Dear Alan,
So many times I see or hear law enforcement or the court system mock or mistreat those with mental illness. I think I should have one of these devices and strap it on them the next time I can!!!

Dear Sarah,
I haven't tried this virtual reality device, so I don't know how it exactly works. But it seems to me that there are visual and auditory halluciantions. So yes, one can hear things or see things that are not really in reality.

Dear MArj,
It sure is a start in the good direction.

Dear Dreaming,
Your did misread the post. One is not given drugs of any kind. It is like a video game - where a helmet is worn, etc. The technology was created by a drug company, so that might be why there was some confusion for you.


Dream Writer said...

I thought that I probably misread it. :)

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I guess if I am going to school to become a counselor - I should LEARN how to slowly read things thoroughly before reacting, huh?

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Dream,
Oh, I mis read things ALOT. The good thing about being wrong about things is that it allows me to open minded, flexible, etc.

I'll be by to visit you often. Hope you come back as well.


Dreaming again said...

oooooh! Maybe the last ten days is a medically induced hallucination ...and some weird maniacs idea of virtual reality and I'm going to wake up to my own reality????

Well, maybe not. A girl can wish?

(and jokes ... keep one kind of sane ...and if not, sanity is overrated!)

Belizegial said...

Dr. Deb,

This is a great way to use virtual technology. It may have some drawbacks but overall should prove more than effective.


Nancy said...

I liked this post too. VT should finally become mainstream.

Hope you are well!


Skye said...

Dr. Deb. please e-mail me, t.y. skye

Todd and in Charge said...

I'm not sure I could handle either exercise...

Rue said...

This is amazing. Truly. I have often felt badly because I just don't get it when it comes to that aspect of illness. I mean, I could see hearing voices etc...but an entire altered reality? No..this is a fantastic tool.

ellesu said...

Oh, the things we can do that could be so benefitial to so many people.

Why don't we?

Dr. Deb said...

Dear Dreaming,
I hope that you are in a reality calm and soothing soon!

Dear Belize,
It could be a great teaching tool.

Dear Nancy,
Anything that can help broaden another's mind is good by me.

Dear Skye,
Will do.

Dear TAIC,
I've never experienced either, but would like to try the Virtual device.

Dear Rue,
Imagine what it would be like to know how fragile the world is if hallucinations and delusions overpower your mind. I think it could be so informing and educating.

Dear Ellesu,
Hopefully this VR system will become less expensive and affordable.