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Posttraumatic stress disorder: Virtual reality and other technologies offer hope

Date:
February 12, 2010
Source:
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News
Summary:
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.

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, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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 PTSD. 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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. "Posttraumatic stress disorder: Virtual reality and other technologies offer hope." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211163118.htm>.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. (2010, February 12). Posttraumatic stress disorder: Virtual reality and other technologies offer hope. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211163118.htm
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News. "Posttraumatic stress disorder: Virtual reality and other technologies offer hope." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211163118.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

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