OCD - Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). Repetitive behaviours, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.

Many people without OCD have distressing thoughts or repetitive behaviours. However, these thoughts and behaviours do not typically disrupt daily life. For people with OCD, thoughts are persistent, and behaviours are rigid. Not performing the behaviours commonly causes great distress. Many people with OCD know or suspect their obsessions are not realistic; others may think they could be true (known as limited insight). Even if they know their obsessions are not realistic, people with OCD have difficulty disengaging from the obsessive thoughts or stopping the compulsive actions.

Virtual Reality Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Virtual reality is an alternative to the traditional intervention used to work on obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD). These environments are designed with the goal of customisation, flexibility and ease.

Not only does the therapy allow for standardisation and control of exposure parameters, but it also allows for repeated exposure as many times as necessary for the client. It is also incredibly versatile with the possibility to adapt other environments from the VR library to suit OCD management.

VR Environments that help

Public bathroom

The client is exposed to a dirty public bathroom. They can stop in the middle of the hallway, interact with the environment, touch and observe.

Underground station restroom

This environment is especially geared towards obsessions and compulsions related to cleanliness. The client is exposed to a dirty bathroom at the train station. They will be able to open a dirty door, touch dirty walls, sit on the toilet, touch the toilet paper, touch the toilet brush, and wash their hands.

VR Therapy involves gradually introducing the client to different environments to discuss their fears and address their concerns about cleanliness. It may involve just a few sessions of therapy, after which the end goal is for the client to confront their thoughts and manage their fears.

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