The therapy works by making patients wear a headset and/or a motion capture suit. This will put them into a specific scenario – for instance, that of a party where drugs such as heroin or marijuana might be proffered. In order to make this more believable and realistic, Bordnick digitised images of real life heroin users as they injected or took drugs in other ways.
Sometimes in conjunction, a scent machine might also be used as well. This is to recreate specific odours and fragrances associated with the drugs, which might initially trigger a patient's craving.
From this, they will be encouraged to find ways of battling the sensations they feel and the mental pressure associated with “giving in” to the craving. Over time, it is believed that the desire to take the drug and the mental and physical associations with it will decrease and eventually stop altogether.
There are some interesting statistics to show that this type of therapy has had decent success with patients who have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after being in combat and it is hoped that over time this will become an accepted and acceptable method of treating addictions, particularly in patients for whom traditional methods of therapy have not necessarily been as successful as the might otherwise have been. Whether you agree or not, it’s a very interesting aspect of therapy which may well have some solid basis for success.
Thanks to Laura Chapman for the link to the original research.
Heroin, Dieting & Exercise. The addiction connection