Fifteen to 20% of Eric Malbus patients suffer from ‘claustrophobia’. Inside CHU de la Conception, a psychiatrist addresses the fear of driving with a 2.0 helmet.
“Virtual reality helped me a lot, I couldn’t overtake a truck with two axles, after the sessions it worked. It was a Thursday. I got home, and I said ‘I overtaken a truck!'” Even the double axis!‘” says Michelle, 49 proudly.
Even if there is no small victory, this medical secretary has yet to reach the end of her anxiety on the highway. It’s been 13 years now.
“I took my car as usual. There was my husband next and my son in the back. I climbed onto the highway and there was suddenly: a panic attack. It was my husband who helped me get behind the wheel.” She remembers.
Today she defines herself asA supporter of small roads.“This karting fan only runs on national and county roads.
Michel is prone to what is called “examophobia”. It is the fear of driving or being in a car.
However, she decides to settle into Doctor Eric Malbus’s seat, toward the highway. He is a psychiatrist at the Pregnancy Hospital in Marseille. In this futuristic seat, surrounded by a huge poster of Myazaki and the movie Tron, she can ride safely.
In this office den 2.0, patients review all kinds of phobias or addictions. His patients with agoraphobia represent 10-20% of his patient base. It’s such a recurring theme that an aristocrat co-authored “Pas de panic au roue!” Take the basis of his treatment.
Anxiety is normal. It is not a disease. What is sickness is its release at unjustified times.
Dr. Eric Malbus has treated phobias for 20 years using virtual reality. In her experience, the patient base for her phobia is more feminine.
“In general, the classic case is a mother in the middle of summer, it’s hot, she leaves her work where there were tensions, picks up her children and there she panics. As it happened in the car, you will think it is connected to the car and you will block it. “, Commonly.
The idea is to stimulate as many senses as possible to immerse a person in the greatest amount of illusion, which is closest to reality. Current technology makes it possible to have more realistic graphics and to offer something more immersive.
“80% of the patients I see are claustrophobia- Fear of the highway. We are going step by step, and the advantage is that we can adjust each criterion.” The psychiatrist explains.
Absolutely everything can be adapted to the program: speed, rain, number of cars, time, bridges, tunnels. The seat is also connected. It reproduces the vibrations of the car. “It is possible to be alone on the highway and to drive at a speed of 5 km/h“, Confirms.
As the patient immerses himself in this virtual world, he feels all the sensations of reality: the pulse speeding up, the anxiety rising. In the same room, Eric Malbus communicates with his patient. During the session, he modified some parameters on the program.
At each stage, the patient is asked to put his level of anxiety on a scale from 1 to 100. The higher the patient’s level of anxiety, the more often the psychiatrist invites him to use different methods. These techniques are learned by the patient during five group sessions that precede the virtual individual sessions.
“Don’t fight anxiety, but accept it. We learn ways to accept anxiety. It’s like learning to swim, we’re not going to throw a baby in the water like that.“, The psychiatrist explains.
Currently, it takes three to four months to get an appointment for virtual sessions at CHU de la Conception.
In the French-speaking region, 2,000 therapists are equipped with virtual reality for their patients. You can find the list of practitioners on the website psychic live.
“Certified gamer. Problem solver. Internet enthusiast. Twitter scholar. Infuriatingly humble alcohol geek. Tv guru.”