Monday, November 29, 2021

Recovery Centers Of America Collaborates With Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions To Introduce Virtual Reality Treatment Enhancement At Two Maryland Facilities

Recovery Centers of America at Bracebridge Hall and Recovery Centers of America Capital Region (RCA), two Maryland substance use disorder treatment facilities, today announced a partnership with Johns Hopkins HealthCare Solutions to introduce virtual reality (VR) technology as a way to enhance the treatment of addiction and anxiety. The technology helps patients overcome the difficult early stages of treatment and fortifies their long-term recovery.

People suffering from substance use disorders (SUD) are twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders. Recent research also indicates that nearly half of those who experience a mental health disorder also experience SUD and vice versa.

Johns Hopkins HealthCare Solutions, in conjunction with BehaVR, developed the program to address stress reduction through mindfulness practice. As an immersive, interactive therapeutic tool, it is used to teach patients how to decrease an anxious response and promote healthy ways they can ease their anxiety, such as meditation, breath work, and other evidence-based strategies.

Patients who are admitted for drug and alcohol treatment and also experience anxiety at RCA at Bracebridge Hall, located in the northern part of the state, and RCA Capital Region, located near Washington D.C., will be recommended for the program.

“We’re excited to work with Johns Hopkins HealthCare Solutions and offer an innovative, proven technology to assist our patients and provide them with the best, personalized care,” said Kerry King, Psy.D., MBA, Vice President of Clinical Services, RCA. “Introducing this program during a patient’s inpatient care, while also utilizing immersive mindfulness techniques, can help diminish the overwhelming – and sometimes debilitating – stress or anxiety many experience when beginning treatment. It also supports relapse prevention for lasting recovery.”

Over the course of six virtual reality mindfulness sessions, the patient’s individual specialists will identify the form and level of their anxiety through a series of questions. Responses establish an initial level of experienced anxiety. The VR software will then create a simulated visual and auditory environment where patients can select a setting that is most comforting to them. They are then guided through a meditative/mindfulness activity while immersed in the virtual setting. This increases the experience and benefits of mindfulness and stress reduction.

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For participants, program benefits may include:

  • Joint treatment of addiction and anxiety, which may prevent one from triggering or worsening the other
  • Potential boost to early treatment results by easing symptoms of irritability, agitation and response to pain
  • Increased awareness of, and sense of control over, triggers, stressors and anxiety
  • Enhanced ability to effectively manage emotions

“The goal is not for our patients to disassociate when experiencing virtual reality but to reduce anxiety and increase mindfulness,” said Corey Richey, interim CEO, RCA at Bracebridge Hall. “Our team is dedicated to providing effective tools that build the necessary skills patients can use to decrease stress, experience calm and cope with day-to-day living outside of our facility, which can ultimately be lifesaving.”

While RCA is using VR sessions to target SUD and anxiety, patients can receive therapy with any of the specialized inpatient programs available at either location, including programs for young adultsolder adultsrelapsetrauma, and members of the LGBTQIA+ populations.

RCA at Bracebridge Hall and RCA Capital Region are accredited by the Joint Commission and the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. Both RCA at Bracebridge Hall and RCA Capital Region have been named a “Best U.S. Addiction Treatment Facility in Maryland” by Newsweek. In addition to providing evidence-based inpatient treatment for substance use disorder, outpatient treatment is also available at RCA Capital Region and most other RCA locations as well as an extensive alumni support network and programming after graduation from treatment.

RCA has also pioneered a new digital health platform called Shoutout to make treatment even more accessible and provide constant support and education to everyone no matter where they are in their recovery journey.

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