Can a virtual reality game relieve anxiety attacks?


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Sounds fascinating. I remember seeing something similar at the Isea95 computer art conference - a piece called Osmose by Char Davies which based on VR that was sensitive to the user’s breathing patterns.

It ran on a great big heap of expensive Silicon Graphics gear and would have been well out of the range of anyone who didn’t have heaps of money. It’s nice to think the same thing could feasibly be available on a normal home PC now.


I know someone who plays the Sims to help their anxiety. Being able to control every element of the game world helps them feel more in control and relaxed in general. I recommended Minecraft in creative mode.


Often a breakthrough is not when the technology itself appears, but when it cost drops enough to allow casual deployment.


If you get too close to the black rock, you trigger the moray eel…

I’d like to also mention Nevermind (shameless plug because the creator is a friend of mine). It’s a horror-type game you play wearing a monitor. The more scared/anxious you get, the more difficult the game becomes. Controlling your fear is the key to success.

Still in development but she’s secured all her funding!

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So we can get a Relaxatron, but not an Orgasmatron. Seems kind of unfair. What if I’m already relaxed?


Matter of time. Matter of not-so-long time.

Sex was always one of the major drivers of technology development/adoption. I would be surprised if VR, especially if coupled with certain mechatronics, was not that case too.

The US Department of Defense, the VA, and others have been experimenting with game/VR treatments for over 15 years. Google Scholar query shows the breadth of possible applications just for PTSD.

USC has a lab focused on a prototype.

Currently found at over 60 sites, including VA hospitals, military bases and university centers, ICT’s Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan exposure therapy approach has been shown to produce a meaningful reduction in PTS symptoms. Additional randomized controlled studies are ongoing.

Frontline did a thing on it.

I’ve dealt with anxiety, less & more, over the years…certain scenes in Myst felt most relaxing & comforting to me.

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