Scientists are studying the potential benefits of computer-generated avatars in helping patients with schizophrenia combat auditory hallucinations.
Hearing voices is a common symptom in victims of schizophrenia. Often these voices are rude and frightening. In this study, the researchers evaluated the effectiveness of using avatars to help victims combat abusive and rude voices in their head, especially in patients where medications were not effective.
During the study, the subjects had to create an avatar, which is a computer generated face with a voice closely resembling the hallucinated voice. They were asked to confront and challenge the avatar, controlled by the therapist.
This study showed that avatar therapy was effective in patients compared to those who continued to receive standard treatment for schizophrenia (antipsychotic medication).
The results were very encouraging, some of the victims hearing such voices for more than 15 years, found that the voice just disappeared after two sessions. More research in this area is needed to use avatar therapy to treat auditory hallucinations in victims of schizophrenia.