Month: May 2019

Virtual Reality Therapy for Arachnophobia

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. Although not everyone who does not like 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 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 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 therapyhelps 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 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 Glossophobia

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 glossophobia 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.