Virtual Reality Versus Veteran Therapy: A New Dawn

by Guy Frum

Studies have shown that the percentage of veterans that suffer from PTSD is as high as thirty-three percent. That's one in every three soldiers.
They give their all for their country, with many laying down their lives. The battlefield is filled with a lot of carnage and death. Soldiers that have survived this need a lot of Therapy to be able to return to their everyday lives.
Veteran Therapy is not a new concept and has been going on for decades. And though there have been a lot of successes, as with any other physiological program, it can be improved upon.
Recently, Virtual Reality has been introduced as a special option.

Virtual Reality And PTSD

With Virtual Reality, the patient is immersed in a world of his own with specific locations and realistic situations. His heart rate, blood pressure, and brain wave patterns during the immersive psychological experience could be recorded with special equipment.

For veterans affected by this particular disorder, exposure-based Therapy is used. In this form of therapy, the patient is made to narrate his experiences while trying to remain calm, as his therapist makes notes on how to help him deal with them.In some special cases, where the trauma is quite severe, depending on the therapist, the use of symbols and objects in VR could be used to depict the traumatic events.

An advantage that Virtual Reality has over traditional Therapy is the ability of the therapist to control the VR setting. Make it more or less immersive, or make the patient's environment less like the traumatic event if there are adverse effects.
Another advantage is the higher degree of secrecy and confidentiality than in traditional patient-therapy sessions.

Mental Disorders

It has been shown that veterans that suffer from PTSD have a twofold risk of other mental disorders like dementia. In accumulation with PTSD and aging, other widespread factors within the veteran population, such as the random episodes of depression (head trauma is also present among most of the population), also increase the probability of developing dementia. Those with this malady could also use VR Therapy.

In traditional Therapy, patients with dementia especially show responsive behaviors like shouting and biting. These lead to negative effects and sometimes lead to the tiredness of the staff, abuse, and neglect. VR Therapy does not require patients to re-live their traumatic experiences and has been shown to help victims cope, bringing many benefits to veterans and those with particular mental disorders.