Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Virtual Reality to help PTSD patients

Virtual reality is known more for video games, flight simulators and theme park rides, than treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but virtual reality therapy is becoming a reality.

While PTSD has been a reality for generations, it has been more commonly seen since the Vietnam War, treating those suffering from the disorder would isolate themselves and live in fear of what they see in their dreams.

Now there is hope for those struggling to readapt once they return home – there is thought to be 15-30% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffering from PTSD. In light of these statistics, the Office of Naval Research provided $4 million to research the benefits of using virtual reality to treat the soldiers returning to the states. The treatment would consist of an interview where the soldier would share what may have brought on the PTSD symptoms; in turn the virtual reality scenario is tailored specifically for that person, with the capability to add realistic smells, such as gun fire and burning rubber. When put together they heighten the level of realism and help the vet tell their story and face the fear and memories that continue to affect their lives.

In the past treating PTSD consisted of group therapy and/or individual therapy and having the person imagine the experience. BY using virtual reality, the experience is more vivid aiding in the recovery process, without relying completely on drugs.

It’s always good to see advanced technology being use to help those in need.

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