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Honored Resident
Lynx Avro
Posts: 907

SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

I have had considerable experience in handling a person with dementia. For me, as a young person, it was terrifying to watch, Teh personality changed so drastically that I was convinced of evidence of possession.

But, I wonder if sl could be used as a therapy in such cases. If teh patient/sufferer of alzheimers/demenitia could control their avatar would this world make a safe place for them to wander and to explore?

Similarly, wouldnt sl make a safe haven for teh depressed and mentally harmed?

Is there any evidence it has been used this way? What do other peopel think of this? Are any professionals who may use SL interested in developing therapeutic programs for patients by involving SL?

Fine Young Cannibal
Member
Vladi Hazelnut
Posts: 609

Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

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As  a person who suffers from anxiety, depression and pychosis I can tell you SL is not as much of a safe haven as you might think it would be. There is lots of drama in sl and many take sl pretty serious. They have trouble seperating it from real life and remembering it is just game. So the game in its self can actually add stress and make someone become more depressed depending on the situations. I am quite sure there have been cases of people commiting suicide over things that happened in sl.

Then you have the issue with someone that is psychotic and might have trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy, dreams and halicunations. What happens in sl could get mixed up with their real life and start to cause some confusion. Imagine somene that has trouble seperating these kinds of things spending half there day in a world where they can fly, teleport and not be injured then walking out into the real world and confusing the two. Not only could there be safety issues, but there can be a lot of confusion and stress trying to seperate the two and figure out which is real and which is not.

And in my case being anxious and socially intraverted Sl give me a chance to escape and do some of the things I wouldn't normally do in real life. However in the end this may not be a such a good thing because it is enabling me to hide from my real problems rather than work on overcoming then and actually venturing out into the real world. My doctor does not feel this is a healthy thing for me and that it is actually hindering my treatment. As does the internet in general. It gives poeple a crutch to escape from the real world and makes it all that much harder to go into the real world and function properly. While I enjoy it and it offers me a way to do things that would normally highly stress me out in the end it is actually probably hurting me more than it is helping.

I would liken it to me taking Klonopin on a daily basis for anxiety. Yes it makes me feel better and relaxes me, but it simply covers up the symptoms and is not a long term solution to the probelm. It is not actually fixing the cause of my anxiety or helping me to learn to cope with it. It is just drugging me up so I am not so wired until I can get a handle the real problem. My doctor calls it treating the symptoms not the disease.

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Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

Reply to Lynx Avro - view message

My first sl gf was a psychologist who originally tried out SL for precisely this purpose, with sufficient success to have papers and a book published.

Pep (She said she dumped me because I worked out who she was in rl; actually it was because I was better at analysing her than vice versa.)

PS But I think discretion would be the better part of valour in terms of offering you any references.

http://pserendipitydaniels.blogspot.com if you are really bored and want unreliable gossip
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Tarina Sewell
Posts: 1,265

Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

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For some unexplained reason this post makes me think of this...


Let me quote Joy Behar "So what, who cares!"



Bobbie Faulds
Posts: 391
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Registered: ‎04-14-2010

Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

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Alzheimer disease, perhaps, since it involves the whole brain. As a Medical Transcriptionist I have typed dictations from rehab doctors that have used it for those that have suffered brain trauma as a rehab tool. SL uses both motor and mental functions. If you get into RP, it also uses the creative parts of your brain. It help with the physical for typing and moving.

The others, not so much, since many with those with those problems already live in their own fantasy worlds. SL would just be another and not help at all.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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Honored Resident
Summer Windlow
Posts: 158

Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

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I cant remember what this post is about.

I cant remember what this post is about

omg im so upset about it

cixelsyd m'I
Honored Resident
Laoise Rumsford
Posts: 53

Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

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Lynx.Avro wrote:

I have had considerable experience in handling a person with dementia. For me, as a young person, it was terrifying to watch, Teh personality changed so drastically that I was convinced of evidence of possession.

But, I wonder if sl could be used as a therapy in such cases. If teh patient/sufferer of alzheimers/demenitia could control their avatar would this world make a safe place for them to wander and to explore?

Similarly, wouldnt sl make a safe haven for teh depressed and mentally harmed?

Is there any evidence it has been used this way? What do other peopel think of this? Are any professionals who may use SL interested in developing therapeutic programs for patients by involving SL?

Eeh, you'd think they would, but as someone stated before, SL makes things worse.. When I'm having a 'moment' where do you think I go?: Second Life. The problem is that when I log in and I get settled I realize that: I didn't want to be here in the first place, why am I playing this stupid game? No one will talk to me! Etc etc, and I end up logging out .... only to log back in a few minutes later with the same mindset and when someone finally does IM me, I end up rambling and then eventually yelling at them because they don't want to spend time with me.

There IS the Schitzophrenic Experience, but that's moreso letting a user understand just what the disease does/feels like. There are also 'safe houses' , memorial walls but no one is there. Esp when you need the guidance.  There was a group that held regular meetings in the past, but slowly began to stop when the owner realized that no one came to the meetings anymore. But the group is still open for chat if anyone needs it.

"Believing oneself to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind."
New Resident
Gunnar Rembrandt
Posts: 1

Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

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I urge you to not do this and the reason I say that is that on my main avatar I RP a particular famous vampire. One day I had a woman ask me if I was the REAL vampire. Assuming she was RPing and being a bit cheeky and looking to RP with me I said yes and sunk into the RP. The conversation was short that day but the next day she started RPing with me again and something about it seemed "off" She asked me again if I was the REAl vampire and told me that her husband spent two hours that night trying to convince her that I wasn't. Realizing that this person must have some form of demntia (sorry I am not a trained shrink I don't know exactly what she had) I told her no I am not the REAL vampire in question I just play him in the game setting as roleplay. This woman did not beleive me and was asking where I was in real life and she had completely vampire lore with reality. My wife got an IM from her husband the next day apologising and telling us that she does in fact have some serious mental problems and that he was deeply sorry. Needless to say I felt terrible for telling her I was to begin with but I had no idea. I felt terrible her real life and SL husband had to spend hours convincing her that vampire lore isnt real and that I am not a real vampire.

Please don't bring patients like this into SL. It isn't fair to them or their spouses or the residents like myself who aren't trained to spot and handle something like this. Just my two cents for whatever it is worth.

Honored Resident
Lotus Li
Posts: 21

Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

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in my experience sl has been both good & bad for my anxiety/ depression...

one stage i hid in sl as im sure many of us do, eventually i came up for air in that phase.. and have worked through many other phases from ...working to building n hanging out with friends....

i believe sl can help if u know how u behave & can see were u are at mentaly & emotionaly.. (this stands for all of us not just the ones with Mental health issues)..

because so much of secondlife is surrounded with social interactions with real people... u will never be fully able to control the outcome of meetings etc... but that is the same as real life too!

in this way.. u can use sl to practice.. responses to social interactions.. and how you can handle YOUR reaction tot he situation.. but agin... u need some way to beable to step back and asess what is happening clearly... not easy to do when sick.

perhaps sharing your secondlife with a trusted person.. who can help you montior how you percive & play sl could be a therapy tool.

so far.. i know sl has helped me keep my rl home less clutered, gives me a reason @ times to get up , gives me some real good friends to talk to who just let me be me. takes time to find these things... and a bit of luck really and alot of hard work in the end to discover the right combination that will suityoru needs...

just like rl... everyone is differnt, no medicine can really cure/fix every single person the same.

i can say right now.. i am reentering rl & still playing sl ... n so far.. its working! fingers crossed for the long run too lol

best wishes to everyone who is struggling to find the right balance & safe space , may u find what yoru looking for and may you also find strenght n confidence in seeking what is right for your wellbeing.

Lotus LI.

"some days you push aginst the sunami, other days the sunami pushes aginst you"

Honored Resident
Leslea Aldrin
Posts: 15

Re: SL, Alzheimers, Dementia and Depression

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As a nurse who has worked with folks suffering from all three, I think that it can be quite a mixed bag.

I would like to address Alzheimer's disease and other progressive dementias. I think the difficulty is that the disease affects reading/writing/typing and other complex skills fairly quickly. Most folks with dementias loose interest in Tv/radio/movies etc, so  maintaining attention would likely not happen with something as complex  as SL. Learning to use a computer would likely increase the frustration, those who already have this ability would forget quickly and trying to navigate would not be comprehended. Good thought for distraction, but tossing a ball, and other large motor skills tend to be pretty effective - the other person needs to do the 'thinking' in a kind, gentle, and simple way, because learning new tasks is the opposite to what is actually happening. Each person with a progressive dementia responds in a different way, personality wise, some become more gentle, some more aggressive, unfortunately, its very unpredictable.  The most appropriate approach is a *consistent*, quiet-ish enviroment with a regular schedule that makes room for the affected person's responses, and avoids frustration for them.