Understanding drug use more intensively and individually is key in many drug treatments, which a new study out of the University of Houston helps enhance.
Rather than just partake in therapy sessions to reveal triggers, drug users are being immersed in a virtual reality world called the "heroin cave." Here, users are subjected to an environment full of images that might set off their urge to use. Therapists can then help to decipher a better form of treatment or intervention from the VR simulation results.
Associate dean of research Patrick Bordnick, one of the leaders on the study, explains the process: "In traditional therapy we role-play with the patient but the context is all wrong. They know they're in a therapist's office and the drug isn’t there. We need to put patients in realistic virtual reality environments and make them feel they are there with the drug, and the temptation, to get a clearer picture and improve interventions."