Virtual reality as a drug-free treatment for depression in the elderly: Considerations of creating a bespoke software treatment | Intellect Skip to content
1981
Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2042-7875
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7883

Abstract

While the use of virtual reality as a drug-free medical treatment for pain has a history spanning decades, its use as a treatment for depression has a much shorter and less expansive history. Few studies have been published, and most of these have relied upon using existing, commercial games to treat depressed patients. However, commercially available games tend to be designed for a younger audience who are assumed to be in full mental health and often already comfortable and knowledgeable in the expectations of gameplay and with a familiarity or interest in technology. This article describes the creation of two short, experimental prototype virtual reality games designed specifically for the needs of elderly, profoundly depressed patients. The reasoning behind the creation of the prototypes are outlined, together with the difficulties and considerations of this approach, what was learned and how approaches to designing, animating and creating more advanced prototype games might be brought forward into the next stage of research. This article is also presented as an example of how artists, animators and designers can utilize their skills to bring richness and value to new applications and medical treatments through the medium of virtual reality and serious games.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Regionale Forskningsfond Innlandet, Norway
  • Regional Research Council, Norway (Award E-søknad ref number 632448 and 297086)
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2022-12-26
2024-02-28
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