Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Avatar therapy 'weakens hallucinations' - Another good schizophrenia story in the UK news this week


#1

This was on BBC news yesterday:

For anyone outside the UK, or who can’t access the BBC website, the idea is a computer ‘avatar’ is programmed to say the phrases that a person hears in their head, and the avatar is also made to look like the person the voices come from, the idea being that the person/patient can actually see something in front of them that they can stand up to, argue with, tell him or her to go away, etc.

Apparently it’s been tried on 150 people with sz in the trials so far and the results are extremely encouraging, meaning that the patients heard voices less and saw fewer hallucinations afterwards.

Again it’s the Maudsley hospital in London that seems to be coming up with new approaches to treatment for the illness. My wife had an appointment there last Monday, we await their report and recommendations.

Just out of interest, any of the North American posters on here aware of similar types of tests/trials over there that are showing positive signs? The Maudsley hospital in the UK is the centre of psychiatry and does seem to be doing some ground-breaking work in the area of sz at the moment.


#2

I have never heard of that here in North America. Really interesting.


#3

My question is does this increase the reality of the hallucinations to the patient which could give the hallucinations more power? If the person hears voices telling them what to do and not do could this be a dangerous therapy? It seems to go against what I know about reality checking.


#4

It’s still at the research stage at the moment, so no doubt they are testing and recording all outcomes from patients before they come to a conclusion.

From what I understand, the idea of giving the voice a physical presence infront of the person with sz empowers that person to deal with it more easily, be brave enough to stand up to the presence and tell it to go away and stop trying to hurt the person.

Perhaps with someone with no insight to their illness who hears voices, it’s a way of dealing with it without admitting they are just hearing things in their head?

I don’t know, it’s early days, but I think it’s good to hear about these things rather than thinking that only medication can ever solve the problem.


#5

Medication is not a 100% solution. In our case, it helps some problems but makes others worse. So thank you for this post. It is hard to have time to find out about everything that is happening in this area of research.