Evaluating virtual reality therapy for treating acute post traumatic stress disorder
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Date posted: 18/04/2005
Posted by: Site Administration
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Theraputic Worlds

The Office of Naval Research is funding three projects to evaluate virtual reality therapy for treatment of acute post traumatic stress disorder. The three-year, approximately $4-million program will examine how virtual reality can be used by therapists to treat post traumatic stress disorder in military personnel before the disorder disrupts their lives and careers.

James Spira of the Naval Medical Center San Diego will work with Ken Graap of Virtually Better, Inc. and Dr. Albert Rizzo from the Institute for Creative Technologies at the University of Southern California to evaluate tools to treat PTSD in active-duty military members.

Virtually Better will help integrate the sights and sounds of combat, as well as smell and other sensory factors. Rizzo is developing a flexible virtual reality toolset for therapists, using assets from the U.S. Army's "Full-Spectrum Warrior" videogame/training application.

Brenda Wiederhold at the Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego will work with James Spira and. Rizzo as well as other experts on PTSD to study the effectiveness of virtual reality for treating acute PTSD in non-combat personnel such as medics and truck drivers. These service members are exposed to their own unique stresses and require different types of virtual reality scenarios.

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