Virtual Reality System For Treating Patients With Anxiety Disorders
Hodges, Larry F.
Rothbaum, Barbara O.
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A virtual reality system provides effective exposure treatment for psychiatric patients suffering from a particular anxiety disorder. The system is characterized by a video screen disposed in front of the patient to display an image of a specific graphical environment that is intended to trigger anxiety within the patient as a result of the particular patient phobia. A headset is worn by the patient, and has sensors disposed to detect movement and positioning of the patient's head. A computer program controls the operation of the system, and is designed to control the display of the graphical environment on the video screen, monitor the headset sensors and determine the position of the patient's head, and controllably manipulate the graphical environment displayed on the video screen to reflect the movement and position of the patient's head. In a preferred embodiment, a sensor is provided to automatically detect a level of patient anxiety, and the computer program is designed to monitor this sensor and controllably manipulate the graphical environment displayed on the video screen in response thereto. In other embodiments, sound and tactile feedback are provided to further enhance the graphic emulation.
- Georgia Tech Patents