Gambling addiction is a serious problem without many good answers. We wish that we could just wave a magic wand and make these issues go away, but of course that is not how the world works. Instead, we must figure out ways that we can use the tools that we do have to hopefully come up with some solutions to the problem of addiction. Lately, experimenters have been looking at virtual reality as a possible answer.
How Would VR Help Fight Problem Gambling?
Problem gambling is a complex neurological puzzle. We don’t know for sure what makes one person a problem gambler while another can get along with his life just fine without even thinking about going for a gamble. These are pieces of information that we simply do not have at our disposal. The research is still ongoing with these types of things, but what we do know is that those who are suffering from problem gambling do need something to help them figure out a way to come away with fewer problems from the gambling.
Virtual reality may be able to unlock some of the keys to getting people away from their problem gambling habits and into more healthy behaviors. The methods that are currently being used are considered cognitive behavior therapies. Virtual reality allows the researches to see the brain activity of the patient as well as their behaviors and habits when they enter a real casino. With virtual reality of course the experience is only artificial, but it still provides insights to researchers that they otherwise would not have had available to them.
Could This Actually Make The Problem Worse?
There is some worry from some scientists and researchers that this could end up making the problem worse for some patients. Is it possible that some might experience the thrill of being in a casino when they put these virtual reality sets on and then just want to go right back to that experience? It is at possible at least in theory.
Therapists have often been hesitant about putting their patients back into an environment where they have had problems in the past. You don’t put an alcoholic back into a bar unless you are prepared to deal with the fallout that would inevitably come with that. At the same time, it is not typically encouraged to put a problem gambler anywhere near a casino. While the virtual reality sets may make the problem gambler feel as though he or she is actually back in a casino, they are of course not really. Thus, it may be okay to put them in this position because the risk of harm is actually less than what some might choose to believe. It is not actually as bad as it might sound because the participants know that they are not really in a casino.
Helping Future Generations
Any good work that goes to help those who may have problems in the future is always a good thing. It is encouraging to see scientists looking at different ways of approaching old problems. This means that they have not yet come up with all of the answers for treating gambling addiction, but they are definitely making progress on their goals within it. You can rest assured that the scientists and researchers are giving their best efforts towards building a better future for those who are dealing with this very difficult issue. Using virtual reality in the battle is just the latest sign that they are starting to make some progress on those goals in the long-term.