Virtual reality and other technologies offer hope

Feb 11, 2010

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) threatens to overload healthcare and social support systems worldwide as the number of cases rises and existing treatments are not sufficiently effective. New approaches to treatment are relying on technology, such as virtual reality, to alleviate the psychologically damaging effects of PTSD, and these innovative solutions are explored in a special issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.

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 with 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 . 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 the mental health needs of mass casualty survivors.

"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, Editor-in-Chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and , from the Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, CA. "We thank those who have shared their memories and experiences for the benefit of others."

Explore further: Mothers don't speak so clearly to their babies

More information: www.liebertpub.com/cyber

Provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Easing the stress of trauma

Dec 01, 2008

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects as many as one in five of all Americans who survive a harrowing experience like rape, assault, war or terrorism. It has emotionally paralyzed survivors of 9/11 and broken up survivors' ...

Recommended for you

Mothers don't speak so clearly to their babies

Jan 23, 2015

People have a distinctive way of talking to babies and small children: We speak more slowly, using a sing-song voice, and tend to use cutesy words like "tummy". While we might be inclined to think that we ...

Explainer: What is sexual fluidity?

Jan 23, 2015

Sexual preferences are not set in stone and can change over time, often depending on the immediate situation the individual is in. This has been described as sexual fluidity. For example, if someone identifies as heterosexual but th ...

Lucky charms: When are superstitions used most?

Jan 23, 2015

It might be a lucky pair of socks, or a piece of jewelry; whatever the item, many people turn to a superstition or lucky charm to help achieve a goal. For instance, you used a specific avatar to win a game and now you see ...

Low-income boys fare worse in wealth's shadow

Jan 22, 2015

Low-income boys fare worse, not better, when they grow up alongside more affluent neighbors, according to new findings from Duke University. In fact, the greater the economic gap between the boys and their neighbors, the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.