Killing Cravings in the New Vice City

by The Discovering Alcoholic on November 6, 2007

Ahh those were the days, it seems like a lifetime ago but it was really only a few years back. Heading up the Vercetti Gang was such a delight; there is nothing like popping a cap in a drug dealing thug to melt the day’s worries away. Although robbing and killing in Vice City was just a warm-up, you see my real job was eliminating Nazis with my trusty sniper rifle. Of course I am talking about online gaming, but eventually the pressure from both my wife and the time restraints of work forced me to choose between gaming and writing. It may be my retirement before I find time to pick up the games again, but at least I know there will be some exciting technology waiting for me once I pick up the old virtual rifle again.

While I had to drop the gaming because it really served no other purpose than an entertaining way to use up prodigious amounts of time, Duke Professor Zach Rosenthal has constructed a virtual reality game that is designed to help drug addicts beat their craving for crack cocaine. The premise of his game therapy is to place the recovering addict into a virtual reality crack house. This environment triggers the mental craving for crack but since there is no release the craving eventually subsides. It is during this decrease in craving that a tone is inserted into the environment. Much like Pavlovian conditioning, with repetition the tone will supposedly become a trigger that reduces craving and temptation.

Click “Read more” to continue reading…

“What we’re trying to do is take people into a virtual crack-related neighborhood or crack-related setting and have them experience cravings, just like they would in the real world,” Rosenthal said. “Cravings are mental and a learned behavior. So, the theory behind the game is just as a person learns to crave, he or she can learn not to crave.” ~ ABC News

I’ll be honest; I really don’t think this is very helpful or realistic. I mean get real, by the time an addict has rationalized the act of sitting down at the table of their local crack dealer I find it doubtful that listening to a tone over a cell phone is going to do the trick! However, I am all for further research into this field because who knows what new technology will be developed and how it will be applied in the future. Professor Rosenthal’s ideas may seem a little crazy now, but I am sure they said the same of Wilbur and Orville. You’ve got to start somewhere and as I always say here at TDA, “any step toward recovery is a good one.”

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: