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a whole new treatment for post-traumatic stress!

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In the United States, a research center has developed a new medical treatment based on virtual reality. This is aimed at patients suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome and aims to place the patient in the context of his own trauma. Researchers hope this can help these people regain control of their lives.

A new cutting-edge medical treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of severe anxiety disorder that manifests itself following a traumatic experience. It is a question of a psychological reaction following a situation during which the physical (or psychological) integrity of the patient – or that of his entourage – has been the subject of threats or direct attacks.

In a statement published on April 27, 2021, the non-profit UCF RESTORES research center presented a new cutting edge medical treatment based on virtual reality (VR). The goal? Place the patient in the context of his own trauma. This center located at the University of Central Florida in Orlando (United States) is currently carrying out clinical tests to verify the effectiveness of the method.

To be eligible, participants must be at least 18 years old, live in the United States, and of course, positively meet the criteria for diagnosing PTSD. Patients should undergo a pre-treatment assessment, two weeks of treatment (accommodation at the center) and finally, a post-treatment assessment. According to UCF RESTORES, the first results of the trials are rather encouraging.

Credit: University of Central Florida

Allow the patient to gain the upper hand

The centre’s approach is to combine the new VR treatment (exposure therapies) and individual (or group) therapies. In addition, a large proportion of the patients participating in the trials underwent a war-related trauma. For its research, the center therefore received support from the United States Department of Defense to the tune of $ 3 million. Let us recall in passing that the US military is currently using virtual reality as a tool for preventing suicide among soldiers.

Until today, UCF RESTORES used VR processing based on a third-party system which ultimately limited its capacities. From now on, it is a question of a tool allowing an intensive exposure of two weeks. It’s about recreating scenarios reproducing personal experience of each patient. By immersing them in their traumatic memories, it would be possible to allow them to regain the upper hand. However, these positive results could then be reflected in real life.


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