Emory researchers examine how virtual reality can treat veterans’ Post traumatic stress disorder

Emory researchers examine how virtual reality can treat veterans’ Post traumatic stress disorder

Virtual Reality Rendering: Used with permission of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies: Photograph by Jack Kearse, Emory University
Virtual Reality Rendering: Used with permission of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies: Photograph by Jack Kearse, Emory University

Sometimes the easiest method to overcome a traumatic experience would be to relive it. Researchers at Emory happen to be exploring ways in which combat-related publish-traumatic stress disorder might be tackled by utilizing virtual reality. The outcomes of new research of 156 veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars show promise for Post traumatic stress disorder receiving treatment effectively-and rapidly-by doing this. We spoken with lead investigator Barbara O. Rothbaum, director of Emory’s Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program.

So how exactly does virtual reality match up against traditional Post traumatic stress disorder therapy? In most treatment, we ask somebody to return within their mind’s eye towards the duration of the traumatic event and recount what went down. You accomplish that again and again and also over until it will get simpler. Some veterans can be quite emotionally disengaged, and it is hard to allow them to enter into the exposure therapy. They can provide you with the language, but they’re not feeling it. With virtual reality, it’s a stronger stimulus. Because it’s more evocative, it’s harder to prevent. They’re hearing it, seeing it, feeling it, smelling it, and remembering it.

What were the virtual scenes like? We would have liked to produce scenarios that actually work for as many folks as you possibly can. Probably the most common stimuli is really a Humvee driving lower the desert highway. We were built with a Middle Eastern city that individuals could patrol by walking. Individuals Iraq and Afghanistan gave us information to produce the scenes.

Describe the research process. Before the virtual reality therapy, some participants required d-cycloserin, or DCS [an antibiotic that’s been utilized in Post traumatic stress disorder treatment], and a few required Xanax. We discovered that everyone improved, but cortisol, which individuals termed as the strain hormone, decreased more within the group that got DCS. The standard span of talk treatments are nine to 12 sessions. Using virtual reality, we’d success having a much smaller sized dose-only five sessions.

Virtual reality has been utilized before to deal with Post traumatic stress disorder. What’s new within this study? This is actually the very first time we’ve had the ability to reveal that virtual the truth is effective with this particular number of veterans. It’s also the very first study mixing it with medications in this manner.

Will the results of the therapy last? We follow people at three several weeks, six several weeks, and twelve several weeks, and I truly do think we’re creating permanent changes. Generally we have seen ongoing improvement instead of relapse. In the future, they handle occasions better or differently, plus they aren’t triggered like these were before. Obviously, you will see specific situations which are never neutral. Around Atlanta, among the greatest triggers is traffic.

This short article initially made an appearance within our August 2014 issue underneath the headline “Screen Therapy.”

 

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