Oxford Virtual Reality Helping Paranoid

5 May 2016, 08:17

New research has found people with paranoia can overcome their fears using virtual reality.

Scientists at Oxford say VR simulations can help people to face their fears and see that situations they worry about are actually safe.

The finding could lead to treatment advancements for people suffering with severe paranoia - which affects 1-2% of the population.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council, combined psychological treatment techniques with state-of-the-art virtual reality social situations to reduce paranoid fear.

People who suffer from severe paranoia can show an extreme mistrust of other people, believing that others are deliberately trying to harm them.

Professor Daniel Freeman from Oxford University's Department of Psychiatry tells Heart ``Paranoia all too often leads to isolation, unhappiness, and profound distress"

But added, "the exceptionally positive immediate results for the patients in this study show a new route forward in treatment,''

``In just a 30-minute session, those who used the right psychological techniques showed major reductions in paranoia."

Listen to our full report below.

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