Virtual Reality That May Help Treat Addiction Through Simulated Parties.

Alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, and even heroin

Researchers at the University of Houston's Graduate School of Social Work have developed virtual, realistic worlds to simulate scenarios where addicts may be triggered to indulge in vices they are working to kick.

Traditional therapy for relapse in addict patients involves role playing in order to teach avoidance strategies and researchers are finding that this modern method of role playing through virtual reality worlds is very effective.

Patients are experiencing nearly true to life situations where they would be tempted to use substances and these experiences are building up their capacity to say "no". Their attention to detail even comes down to smell. "If there"s people eating pizza in the restaurant, you smell pizza. Patrick Bordnick, director and founder of the research lab said, "And marijuana, obviously. We have raw marijuana smell, marijuana smoke, incense, anything that"s associated with the drug. If you go outdoors, we have sort of a pine, or outdoorsy, scent."

To view all of the simulated environments, go to the University of Houston's website here