Military treating PTSD victims with virtual reality

Jeff Ebert
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeff Ebert wears a virtual-reality headset and holds a video-game-type controller Friday, June 29, 2007 as he demonstrates an experimental virtual-reality computer simulation at Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis, Wash. that psychologists plan to begin using in the future to treat soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Virtual reality can be an effective therapy for military personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to researchers.

The U.S. military has been using video games to prepare soldiers for war for quite some time, and recently, it's also been using virtual reality systems as a way to reduce symptoms -- and even prevent combat soldiers from getting PTSD in the first place.

Scientists at USC are using the virtual reality systems as a kind of inoculation against the negative psychological effects of war - employing the virtual reality programs to prepare soldiers for the trauma they'll experience in war and to someday perhaps identify who may or may not be psychologically fit for combat.


Battle ready? "Vaccinating" soldiers against PTSD (Economist)

Virtual Reality Helps Service Members Deal with PTSD (Defense News)

The remarkable power of alternate realities (PBS Frontline)

On the blog you can watch a demonstration of the military's virtual reality program for PTSD and leave comments.