Author: Brenda Wiederhold

Phobias Born of Our High-Tech Lifestyles

http://www.medicaldaily.com/smartphone-separation-anxiety-may-be-linked-personal-memories-study-says-421507

 

“Nomophobia, fear of missing out (FoMo), and fear of being offline (FoBo), — all anxieties born of our new high-tech lifestyles — may be treated similarly to other more traditional phobias,” Wiederhold said in a statement.“Exposure therapy, in this case turning off technology periodically, can teach individuals to reduce anxiety and become comfortable with periods of disconnectedness.”
                                                                                                                                                                                           
Contact Information:
frontoffice @ vrphobia.com
+1 858 642 0267
Professor Dr. Brenda K Wiederhold, Ph.D., MBA, BCB, BCN

Virtual Reality for the Attenuation of Pain and Anxiety

The Virtual Reality Medical Center and nonprofit affiliate, Interactive Media Institute, recently published the article, “Using Virtual Reality to Mobilize Health Care: Mobile Virtual Reality Technology for Attenuation of Anxiety and Pain” in the January Issue of IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. The article summarizes the use of virtual reality as a tool for pain distraction and stress reduction in patients. This tool has been used to treat phobias, stress disorders, distract from surgical pain, and help overcome chronic pain. As a mobile healthcare platform, virtual reality and related technologies are changing the face of healthcare services by increasing access, efficiency, and effectiveness.

For the full text, please visit: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8197481/

Please direct any questions regarding this article to Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold at frontoffice@vrphobia.com

 

 

Wiederhold BK, Miller IT, Wiederhold MD. Using Virtual Reality to Mobilize Health Care: Mobile Virtual Reality Technology for Attenuation of Anxiety and Pain. IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine. 2018 Jan;7(1):106-9.

Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold Wins Satava Award

Satava Award

We are excited to announce that, Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, Chief Executive Officer of the Interactive Media Institute in San Diego, CA has been awarded the 11th Annual Satava Award at the 2005 Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) conference. The conference, now in its 13th year serves as an international forum for physicians, computer scientists and educators to present research on data-centered solutions to health care problems. Dr. Wiederhold was honored for her continuous effort to further the application of advanced technologies and Virtual Reality (VR) for patient care. This is the first time that the award has been presented for work in the Mental Health Care field and only the second time that it has been awarded to a female researcher.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Fear of Spiders

If you are afraid of spiders, then you are not alone. In fact, approximately 55% of women and 18% of men in the United States suffer from arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders. Virtual Reality Therapy may be able to help you overcome that fear!

Although not everyone who dislikes spiders has the actual phobia, there are some symptoms to watch out for. If you freeze or run away if you see a spider, refuse to go into a room that may have a spider, and if you will not go camping, hiking, or do any other outdoor activities you used to enjoy for fear of seeing a spider, you may have arachnophobia.

According to licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC) in La Jolla, California, “A phobia is a diagnosable disorder that impacts your life negatively.” But don’t worry, there are treatments that can help. Virtual Reality (VR) exposure therapy helps the sufferer desensitize to the stimuli that causes their phobia. For example, those who have arachnophobia may be exposed to VR scenarios of spiders in a non-threatening way to gradually decrease the fear at the patient’s own individual pace.

Virtual Reality therapy exposes you to the scenarios in the safety and comfort of the therapist’s office. Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, has been practicing Virtual Reality (VR) therapy for over 2 decades. She completed the first randomized controlled clinical trial in 1996 using Virtual Reality and biofeedback to treat patients with phobias.  And the VRMC has been successfully performing VR therapy now for 23 years!   With a new set of skills on how to react differently and think differently about spiders, followed by gradual exposure through VR, you can be enjoying that camping trip in no time!

Most individuals with a specific phobia require on average one clinical intake session and 10 treatment sessions.  If you live in the San Diego area, you can choose to come once a week or twice a week.  If you are coming from out of the area, we can accommodate “condensed treatment” where you will experience one VR session per day, each day, Monday-Friday.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Claustrophobia

Approximately 5% of Americans have the fear of small spaces, or claustrophobia. This fear is actually a specific phobia according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5).

Those who suffer from this disorder are afraid of being closed in or have a fear of not being able to get away that can cause a panic attack when getting on an elevator or an airplane. When you feel like you cannot get away if needed, have an excessive fear of being locked in, or go out of your way to avoid being in a small room or any confined space, these are some of the signs of claustrophobia.

However, this specific phobia is treatable and within a few short weeks, you can be free of the fear of small enclosed spaces. With Virtual Reality therapy, you will be gradually exposed to small spaces such as rooms without windows, hallways, tunnels, elevators, and even closets in small increments, at your own individualized pace. So the next time you’re set to visit your friend who lives on the 27th floor, maybe you will be able to take that elevator!

Virtual Reality Therapy for Fear of Public Speaking

Let Virtual Reality help you overcome your Fear of Public Speaking!

Although it seems like all of our present day business interactions can be done online, sometimes we may still find we need to give a presentation. The fear of public speaking, speech anxiety, or glossophobia, is the third most common anxiety disorder in the United States and affects more than 20 million Americans at some point. That is about 25% of the population. Whether you are a businessperson or student, homemaker or doctor, a warehouse worker or an attorney, one day you will likely need to speak in front of a large group of people.

Being a confident public speaker can help you advance your career, enhance your relationships with others, or help you to achieve a better grade in school. However, if you feel extreme fear at the thought of talking to a group or get dizzy and nauseous when you have to go on stage, you may have glossophobia and need treatment.

Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, a licensed clinical psychologist and President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center in La Jolla, California, has been treating fear of public speaking and other specific phobias and anxiety disorders successfully with Virtual Reality therapy for over 2 decades. By exposing you to various public speaking scenarios in the virtual world, at your own individual pace, you can become less fearful and more self-confident in previously anxiety-provoking situations.

With a new set of skills on how to react differently and think differently about public speaking, followed by gradual exposure through VR, you can be enjoying those presentations in no time!  Most individuals with a specific phobia require on average one clinical intake session and 10 treatment sessions.  If you live in the San Diego area, you can choose to come once a week or twice a week.  If you are coming from out of the area, we can accommodate “condensed treatment” where you will experience one VR session per day, each day, Monday-Friday.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Fear of Heights

If you are afraid of heights, you are certainly not alone. In fact, acrophobia, or the fear of heights, is one of the most common phobias, with one-third of the population suffering from this anxiety disorder. Virtual Reality treatment may be the answer you’ve been looking for to get you over your fear!

And while some experts claim that it is a learned response while others believe it is hereditary, none of that matters if you are the one suffering from this debilitating phobia. Those who have a fear of heights may experience nausea, dizziness, vertigo (a spinning or moving sensation), rapid heartbeat, sweating, shortness of breath, and extreme fear when faced with situations involving heights.

You may go to extreme lengths to avoid heights and this is sometimes not feasible. For example, what if your work is on the 25th floor and has huge floor-length windows? Does that mean you cannot work there?

Not according to Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC) in La Jolla, California. VRMC has been providing Virtual Reality therapy for over 2 decades and has had great success in treating many types of phobias and fears. By gradually introducing you to situations such as a glass elevator, bridges, and high buildings through virtual reality, you can be desensitized on your own terms and in your own time.  Learning how to think differently and behave differently, you’re able to practice those new skills in VR.

Most individuals with a specific phobia require on average one clinical intake session and 10 treatment sessions.  If you live in the San Diego area, you can choose to come once a week or twice a week.  If you are coming from out of the area, we can accommodate “condensed treatment” where you will experience one VR session per day, each day, Monday-Friday.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Fear of Flying

Is your fear of flying preventing you from that vacation you’ve been dreaming of, or have you been unable to move up in your job because you refuse to travel on an airplane?  Virtual Reality Therapy may be the solution you’ve been looking for!

Amazingly up to 20% of Americans suffer from aerophobia, or the fear of flying. Some symptoms may include a racing heart, increased sweating, shaking, flushed skin, feeling disoriented, and an inability to concentrate. You may even have had an anxiety or panic attack when you were just thinking about flying. In fact, some individuals refuse to go to the airport to pick up friends or loved ones because of this phobia.

Whether you are a first-time flyer who is considering taking a trip, or you’ve tried to fly in the past and been unable to before due to your flying phobia, many individuals are finding help in the form of a virtual world.

Virtual Reality therapy exposes you to flying scenarios in the safety and comfort of the therapist’s office. Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, President of the Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC) in La Jolla, California has been practicing Virtual Reality (VR) therapy for over 2 decades. She completed the first randomized controlled clinical trial in 1996 using Virtual Reality and biofeedback to treat patients with a fear of flying.  And the VRMC has been successfully performing VR therapy now for 23 years!   With a new set of skills on how to react differently and think differently about flying, followed by gradual exposure through VR, you can be taking flight in no time!  Most individuals with a specific phobia require on average one clinical intake session and 10 treatment sessions.  If you live in the San Diego area, you can choose to come once a week or twice a week.  If you are coming from out of the area, we can accommodate “condensed treatment” where you will experience one VR session per day, each day, Monday-Friday.

Emerging Technologies Helping to Mobilize Healthcare Services

Collaborating with an international group of researchers, Dr. Brenda Wiederhold, Ian Miller, and Dr. Mark Wiederhold recently published a chapter in Digital Health: Scaling Healthcare to the World. Edited by Homero Rivas and  Katarzyna Wac of Stanford University, this book presents a comprehensive overview of state-of-the-art approach to digital health technologies and healthcare practices. Wiederhold, Miller, and Wiederhold contributed a chapter titled, “Augmenting Behavioral Healthcare:Mobilizing Services with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality.” This chapter focuses on the use of virtual and augmented reality in behavioral healthcare. More specifically, it describes how these portable technologies can be used to increase access and efficiency of behavioral health interventions.

 

You may purchase the full text at: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-61446-5_9

For questions regarding the chapter, please contact Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold (frontoffice@vrphobia.com).

Wiederhold BK, Miller I, Wiederhold MD. Augmenting Behavioral Healthcare: Mobilizing Services with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. InDigital Health 2018 (pp. 123-137). Springer, Cham.