Virtual Reality Relapse Prevention: Alcohol Dependence
Department of Health and Human Services
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Small Business Information
VIRTUALLY BETTER, INC.
2440 LAWRENCEVILLE HWY, STE 200, DECATUR, GA, 30033
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractDESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): In our Phase 1 grant, we demonstrated the feasibility of a virtual reality cue reactivity system (VRCR) for alcohol assessment by producing virtual reality environments (VRE's) that increased subjective craving for alco hol on average 450%, in a sample of 40 abusing and/or dependent adult participants. This Phase II study incorporates VR cue exposure/reactivity into a relapse prevention based treatment. Virtual reality relapse prevention (VRRP) environments will combine c omputer generated video images depicting drinking cues (e.g. alcoholic beverages, liquor bottles, beer) and drinking related social interactions (e.g. being offered a drink in a social setting, walking around a convenience/gas station that sells beer, inte racting with a waiter at a bar/restaurant) presented in contexts that are congruent with real world experiences. A recent development will allow the incorporation of scent cues (e.g. beer, wine, liquor, food, cigarette smoke) into the VR environments. The feasibility of VRRP will be tested in an outpatient clinical treatment trial with alcohol dependent drinkers. Sixty alcohol dependent adults will be recruited and randomized to either VRRP or traditional relapse prevention (TRP). A twelve week treatment tr ial will compare VRRP vs. TRP on alcohol use, breath alcohol levels, and abstinence rates across treatment and follow-up periods (one, three, and six months). In addition, all participants will be assessed for cue reactivity (craving and physiological) at baseline, week six, and week twelve using a VR cue reactivity assessment environment. The overarching aim of this project is to develop and test VRRP, and develop affordable turnkey, VRRP system that will be commercially available to substance abuse progra ms, individual therapists, and alcohol researchers for alcohol and other drugs of abuse. We proposed to develop in Phase II, a virtual reality relapse prevention (VRRP) treatment system for alcohol dependence. VRRP will combine computer graphics with sens ory input devices including: tracking devices, visual head mounted displays (HMD), scents and directional audio to immerse participants in a computer-generated virtual environment. A controlled clinical treatment study comparing VRRP to traditional relapse prevention will be conducted.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.