Computer avatars help schizophrenics fight voices in their heads

At King's College London, they tested "avatar therapy" - a technique for reducing anxiety in mentally ill people. It does not cure patients, but significantly alleviates the symptoms of the disease. Perhaps for the first time in history, the struggle with voices in the head reached a certain real level.

The idea and implementation are simple: the doctor, based on the analysis of the schizophrenic's story about what worries him, builds a three-dimensional virtual image of the “enemy”. And he voices it, imitating the attack of the "voice" on the patient. And then follows a series of "fight sessions", during which the patient can argue, scold, insult, question and catch the avatar on mistakes. That is, to interact with him as with the likeness of a real enemy.

And it works - instead of the elusive and therefore formidable, self-confident "voice", the schizophrenic sees in front of him a semblance of a character in a computer game. A fearless one that can be overcome, especially since the attending physician brings his patient to this very point. As a result, by the middle of the study, there were no violent schizophrenics left in the control group - they all learned to “win” the voices in their heads.

In parallel, in the control group, traditional remedies were used, and here's the paradox: according to the results of a 24-week experiment, both groups showed approximately the same levels of healing from the disease. Scientists conclude that avatar therapy is more of a placebo than a treatment. But if you need to quickly calm down a violent schizophrenic, let him have a fight with a virtual enemy and everything will work out!