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Videogames used to treat traumatic stress

by indymb | July 28, 2006
"The idea being to be in the high-stimulus environment for a long period of time, maintaining low psycho-physiological arousal. The person then can take that learning in the therapeutic environment and transport it out or generalize it to day-to-day life."
- Dennis Wood, therapist, Naval Medical Center

"They come out saying that was really powerful, whereas someone who doesn't have PTSD might be less impressed with it. The patient is actually bringing a lot to that world. They may remember seeing things that aren't actually shown."
- Dennis Wood, therapist, Naval Medical Center

San Diego, CA - Dr. Dennis Wood takes patients on what some might consider an odd [virtual] journey.

He starts off leading them to a military compound in Fallujah, Iraq. He then guides them through an Iraqi marketplace before they accompany a patrol through Iraqi homes. But neither Wood nor the patients is anywhere near Iraq. The therapeutic conflict is part of a virtual reality program developed at the Virtual Reality Medical Center in San Diego and funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). It's designed to help personnel returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cope with so-called acute post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

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