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Virtual Reality Research Helps Veterans with PTSD

February 23, 2020

When Chris Merkle retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2010, he struggled to overcome the lingering trauma of having served in Iraq and Afghanistan. While he met with a therapist regularly, Merkle found it difficult to share his overseas experience.

“I was not prepared or ready to deal with the trauma, so I just talked about surface-level problems,” Merkle said. 

His therapist recommended the Bravemind project, which uses virtual reality technology to treat conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. Patients are outfitted with a head-mounted virtual display and led by a therapist through a stress-inducing war environment. Participants physically hold a rifle as they experience a simulation that includes booming explosions and even smells of burning debris. 

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