More than half of patients are able to overcome acrophobia without long-term treatment by a physician, according to the scientists from Oxford.
Acrophobia, fear of heights, affects one in five people in the world. And clinical form of the disease diagnosed in 5% of the world’s population, reports the Independent.
Researchers from Oxford propose to treat acrophobia with virtual therapy. 69% of patients with a severe fear of heights who took part in the experiment were able to overcome it in several sessions without the intervention of a therapist.
In the experiment, Oxford scientists volunteered to participate 100 people suffering from obsessive fear at least for 30 years. Half of them were selected in the “group of virtual reality”, another group was considered as control and went in for a routine therapy.
Subjects were exposed to six half-hour tests, making the “climb to the top of ten-storey building”, “come to the edge” and to perform simple tasks — for example, save the cat, or to cross the rope bridge.
As a result, 34 of the 49 participants (69%) settled so much that the doctors were able to remove the clinical diagnosis of “acrophobia”. Unfortunately, two were unable to complete the treatment.
The team from the University of Oxford States that this method can be used for the treatment of other obsessive-compulsive disorder. But most importantly, it is economically advantageous to the traditional expensive consultation with a physician.