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Virtual Reality for PTSD

Thanks to the stresses of modern life, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) threatens to overload health care and social support systems worldwide.

Sadly, experts acknowledge that treatment interventions are insufficient. Current treatment philosophy involves long-term intervention that often cannot be delivered because of logistics or costs.

Consequently, new approaches to treatment are relying on technology, such as virtual reality, to alleviate the psychologically damaging effects of PTSD.

PTSD is common in soldiers returning from combat duty and may also result from sexual or physical assault, imprisonment or hostage situations, terrorism, surviving an accident or disaster, or diagnosis of a life-threatening illness.

Conventional approaches to treatment, including antidepressant medication and psychotherapy, yield unacceptable recovery rates.

Exposure therapy has been recognized as a highly promising method for treating patients with PTSD.

Rather than relying on patients’ visualization skills to “relive” the traumatic experience, technological strategies such as virtual reality (VR) provide a controlled environment in which patients can experience a situation or scenario while learning to cope with their emotional responses.

Virtual reality has the potential to play an important role in treating survivors of mass casualty disasters, for example. Countries can implement this tool and the available handheld VR technology as part of a comprehensive plan to respond to catastrophe survivors’ mental health needs.

“We are so fortunate in being able to learn from our patients who give us invaluable feedback and important information so that we may continuously improve treatment protocols,” says Dr. Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCIA.

“We thank those who have shared their memories and experiences for the benefit of others.”

These innovative solutions are explored in a special issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. The special issue is available free online.

Source: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

Virtual Reality for PTSD

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Virtual Reality for PTSD. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 13, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/02/12/virtual-reality-for-ptsd/11406.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.