Virtual reality technology is helping people to overcome one of the most common phobias – fear of heights. It’s estimated that between 3% to 5% of the population suffer from acrophobia which is crippling fear of heights.
There is evidence to suggest that fear of heights worsens as we age. In 2014 study conducted by YouGov it was found that 49% of UK 18 to 24-year-olds were afraid of heights. For people over the age of 60 years old the number of people who are afraid of heights rises to 64%.
Experts suggest that the best way to overcome is a phobia to confront it. Failing to confront phobia will often lead it to becoming worse over time rather than better. Gradually confronting a phobia is known as exposure therapy. It allows the patient to confront the source of the phobia for increasing period of time. Virtual reality offers an excellent way of helping people to overcome the fear through increased exposure.
How Exposure Therapy Works
Exposure therapy was developed by the South African psychologist James G Taylor. Exposure therapy can be used to treat almost any type of phobia by exposing patients to the source of their anxiety, leading them to become less sensitive to that source of stress over time. This is because being able to overcome her as their printed. What will happen are exposed to the source that info by making this source of their predictable people are able to overcome before. Virtual reality necklace with list of safe environment that are not actually being exposed any danger.
Samsung’s “BeFearless” Fear Of Heights Campaign
Samsung recently launched a campaign titled BeFearless which helps people to overcome their fear of heights using a virtual reality headset The campaign gradually exposed people to different levels of heights using VR simulators. After being exposed to different levels of heights individuality environment they were presented with a real life scenario whether expose to a height. According to research conducted by Yonsei University Gangnam Severance hospital VR lab it was found that 87.5% of those who participate in the study were able to reduce their verified.
Creating A Realistic Elevated Virtual Environment
Virtual reality environments can offer very realistic simulation of what is like to be high off the ground. This includes the ability to simulate not only the appearance of virtual reality environments of the feelings of wind, sound and vibration to create very realistic environments.
Using Virtual Reality To Treat Other Phobias
Virtual reality can be used to treat not only the fear of heights, but other serious mental issues as well including post-traumatic stress disorder. Marines have used virtually reality technology to help them work through their experiences experiencing a combat environment through exposure therapy.
Why VR Is Becoming Popular For Treating Fear Of Heights
VR to become a much more option in recent years to treat fear of heights because of the lower cost extremely realistic VR technology. Even high end VR headsets can now purchased for less than thousand dollars. Inexpensive smartphone VR technology like Google cardboard is sufficient for simulating heights.
Challenges Facing VR For Treating Fear Of Heights
There are still some challenges for using virtual reality technology to treat fear of heights. One of the major issues is VR technology can cause some people to suffer from nausea. The idea of our consumer VR to treat phobias may also be problematic because it can be difficult to know exactly how much exposure to give the patient. In a clinical environment a licensed therapist will be present to regulate the VR experience. This type of measurement and regulation would be more difficult with a consumer VR product.
Despite these challenges the advantages of using virtual reality technology to treat phobias is immense. Fear of heights can have a debilitating effect on people, including not being able to work in office buildings or undertake certain types of jobs. Virtual reality would offer a low cost way to safely overcome a condition that can really limit people’s possibilities.