Army Hopeful About Virtual Reality for Treating Post Traumatic Stress

Published: May 6, 2010
Category: News

An article by the Army News Service covered an Army study of ICT’s virtual reality system for treating post traumatic stress.
The story stated that, the Defense Department’s Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury have begun a pilot program that uses multi-sensory virtual reality to treat Soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. The program enables doctors to choose a scenario, customized around a Soldier’s personal experience. In the article, Brig. Gen. Loree K. Sutton, director of the program, said she is very hopeful in the use of virtual reality but notes that no one approach will reach out and touch everyone.
“We owe these young Americans our very best,” Sutton said. “We know the issues of post-traumatic stress, these unseen wounds of war. If left in silence, they can be the deadliest wounds of all.”
Dr. Greg Reger, acting chief for the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology, Innovative Technology Applications Division, explained the traditional approach to treatment is exposure therapy, which involves the individual (with the guidance of a doctor) confronting the anxiety issues, instead of avoidance. He said research has shown that individuals that have a high level of emotional engagement respond best to treatment. To increase emotional engagement, virtual reality enables servicemembers to confront these issues, which activates the memory and potentially, treats PTSD.
“Treatment works and it’s getting better all the time,” Sutton said. “The earlier we can intervene, the better.”
Read the full story here.