Virtual Reality Used To Help Treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The Virtual Reality Medical center in San Diego just got $4 million from Naval Research to improve their VR systems to help treat soldiers who are returning from battle with PTSD. How does VR work to treat PTSD? Doctors and psychologists set up a situation where the soldier is back in battle, in this case, Iraq. They then try to give soldiers the opportunity to experience some traumatic situations again, but this time, helping them explore their emotions and work through their psychological stress.

The aim is to get patients to draw on their meditation training to regain perspective—and stay calm—when a stimulus causes an emotional response. "The idea being to be in the high-stimulus environment for a long period of time, maintaining low psycho-physiological arousal," Wood says. "The person then can take that learning in the therapeutic environment and transport it out or generalize it to day-to-day life."

Other groups such as one at the University of Washington and one at USC, who are working with a modified version of the game Full Spectrum Warrior to help PTSD sufferers, have also benefitted from the $4 million grant.

A Dose of Virtual Reality [Business Week via Medgadget]