When those with a substance use disorder seek addiction treatment, one of the things that they will learn is how to deal with the temptation to use drugs or alcohol once they leave rehab. Cravings are a serious concern, as are triggers which can occur when a person is exposed to various people, places, or things that are reminders of old behaviors. Researchers are now looking at using virtual reality to help addicts practice saying “no” in these tricky situations.

Learning to Say “No” to Drugs and Alcohol

When you are ready to stop abusing drugs and alcohol, there are probably many scenarios that run through your head. If someone hands you a beer or joint, what do you say? You might want to eliminate these substances from your life, but the truth is that they are still prevalent in society and you may even have close friends or family members who have their own addiction issues.

Even people who drink normally do not understand the temptation that might exist for someone early in recovery, and it is not their responsibility to safeguard your recovery. Testing out your conviction by walking into the nearest bar is probably not a good idea. Instead, a group of researchers has created a virtual reality program that addiction treatment centers can use to help you practice saying “no” in tempting situations.

Using Virtual Reality as an Addiction Treatment Tool 

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have partnered with a Nashville-area rehabilitation center to test a new virtual reality program. The system allows participants to immerse themselves in various environments to receive therapeutic support as well as to “practice” their responses in a variety of situations involving alcohol and drugs.

When patients arrive at a rehab facility in an agitated state, VR has been helpful in counteracting negative emotions. This is also a low-risk way for patients to run through different high-risk scenarios. For example, an addict can speak with a stranger in a VR environment and turn down the offer of a drink. These therapies have the potential for use after addiction treatment as well, such as when an addict is anxious and needs immediate feedback.

Get Holistic Addiction Treatment Now

When you are ready to stop using alcohol or drugs, you may not know where to turn. The idea of living without a substance, even though it is causing you harm, can be unsettling. Fortunately, there is caring and compassionate addiction treatment available from professionals who understand your situation.

At The Recovery Village, we offer holistic addiction treatment programs that we will design to suit your needs and current situation. When you speak with one of our addiction specialists, you can decide together whether or not you need detox, inpatient or outpatient care, or treatment for co-occurring disordersContact us now to learn more about admissions and begin your road to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.