Friday 24th November 2017

Confronting an avatar on a computer screen helped patients hearing voices to cope better with hallucinations, a UK trial has found.

Patients who received this therapy became less distressed and heard voices less often compared with those who had counselling instead.

Experts said the therapy could add an important new approach to treating schizophrenia hallucinations.

The trial, on 150 people, is published in the Lancet Psychiatry Journel.

It follows a much smaller pilot study in 2013.

Hallucinations are common in people with schizophrenia and can be threatening and insulting.

One in four patients continues to experience voices despite being treated with drugs and cognitive behavioural therapy.

In this study, run by King’s College London and University College London, 75 patients who had continued to hear voices for more than a year, were given six sessions of avatar therapy while another 75 received the same amount of counselling.

In the avatar sessions, patients created a computer simulation to represent the voice they heard and wanted to control, including how it sounded and how it might look.



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