Will the Metaverse adoption exacerbate mental health issues? Experts chime in

metaverse, Will the Metaverse adoption exacerbate mental health issues? Experts chime in
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Key Takeaways:

  • Metaverse, and its effect on disorders like body dysmorphia.
  • Do attention deficit disorder sufferers benefit from VR technologies?
  • Experts share their opinions on the matter.
  • Is moderation the silver lining?

YEREVAN (CoinChapter.com) – The Metaverse has been the talk of the town ever since the social media giant Facebook rebranded into Meta in Oct. 2021. Furthermore, the company announced it would focus on visual presence to give its users the “full experience” of virtual reality.

Even though Meta did not benefit from the transition, the idea of adopting the Metaverse in the crypto sphere took off. The blockchain-based gaming industry incorporated the idea with enthusiasm and propelled platforms like Sandbox (SAND), Axie Infinity (AXS), and Decentraland (MANA).

However, the Metaverse also raised questions about mental health. Is it addictive? Can it induce conditions such as dissociative identity disorder (DID) and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)? Mental health professionals joined CoinChapter to discuss the advantages and the disadvantages of visual reality.

Maintaining mental health in the Metaverse

In detail, DID is quite rare and affects 1.5 and 2% of the population. Previously known as multiple personality disorder, it is a psychological state characterized by a disconnect between a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

There is still a lack of studies that focus precisely on how the Metaverse can hinder or induce DID. However, when it comes to body dysmorphia, experts take the cautious approach.

Meera Watts, the founder of Siddhi Yoga, sees this issue often in her practice.

I think body dysmorphia is already very common with the rise in beauty standards. 8/10 people are not satisfied with the way they look or the way their body is. […] With metaverse, people are already trying to change the way they look and behave.

This is already stealing their real identity and molding them into someone they’re not. For the people who have [body dysmorphia], seeing people transforming themselves is just a trigger for them to change. Else they feel like they are different and are far away from the standards.

said Ms. Watts.

Also read: 77% of U.S. consumers pick blockchain over Facebook-owned Metaverse — study.

Metaverse overuse could induce phychosis, says expert

Additionally, Dave Marlon, a clinician, Recovery Advocate, and Founder of Vegas Stronger, told CoinChapter that he disagreed with limitations on technological tools but recognized they could be harmful.

As a clinician and substance use disorder counselor/expert this new reality brings new concerns. The potential impact of engaging in virtual interactions concerns psychoses—especially those involving delusions and/or hallucinations. Overuse of digital technology is associated with many mental health issues, such as substance use disorders, somatic symptoms disorder, depression, paranoia, and serious mental illness.

Like with most substances or activities, utilizing them in a reasonable amount can be healthy and reduce stress. However, the potential to utilize compulsively despite negative consequences is something to be mindful of.

asserted Mr. Marlon

Is there a silver lining for Virtual Reality?

There is certainly a strong positive case to be made for VR technology. Specialists implement it in various areas, from surgeon training to piloting simulations. Amir Bozorgzadeh, the co-founder and CEO of brain training company Virtuleap, told CoinChapter in detail how VR can affect brainpower.

The fact is that VR hijacks the non-verbal circuitry of the human condition into believing that the experience is real. The autonomic nervous system, vestibular ‘balance’ system, and proprioception, for example, are all engaged in ways that no previous screen-based format could ever facilitate

said the expert.

Also read: Singapore firm Mighty Jaxx raises $20M to build metaverse platform.

VR for ADHD?

Mr. Bozorgzardeh further specified that VR activities could provide specific advantages for people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, he called the emerging technologies a “double-edged sword.”

While the critical use case applications in cognitive behavioral modification and treatments for all sorts of cases like pain management or disorders like ADHD are proving to benefit humanity, a badly designed experience would without proper forethought for accessibility design could certainly play out in all sorts of harmful ways for high-risk groups.

he asserted.

Moreover, Anna Bailie, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of York, was also hopeful on the Metaverse and its future effect on mental health.

The metaverse has been sold as a place for community, sociality, making friends, and maintaining relationships. There’s no reason that can’t happen when we already see it on social media platforms like Instagram and Reddit, where people find communities which they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.

commented Ms. Bailie.

Also read: What Facebook effect? Metaverse tokens log middle-finger rallies against Meta’s falling stock value.

New technology is often suspicious as it is uncharted territory. The Metaverse and its effects on the human psyche are still unexplored, leaving mental health professionals pondering the implications.

However, a move away from physical reality raises concerns and red flags, especially for people already suffering from various mental disorders. Thus, caution and moderation seem to be the keys to using the Metaverse to human advantage and choosing people over profit.

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metaverse, Will the Metaverse adoption exacerbate mental health issues? Experts chime in

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