New Tool in PTSD Treatment

The Air Force has recently introduced new virtual reality-based software at eight bases, including Travis AFB, Calif., to help veterans of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq combat post traumatic stress disorder. The software is designed to create a safe environment for those airmen with PTSD who are preparing to redeploy so that they may recreate a traumatic situation that haunts them and work through the emotions and anxiety with a therapist and come to terms with the experience and hopefully find peace. “Redeployers with PTSD have nightmares or flashbacks of the trauma, feel emotionally detached, avoid anything resembling the trauma, and are constantly on edge, distrustful, vigilant, and hyper-vigilant to real or imagined danger,” explained Capt. Joel Foster, a psychologist with Travis’ 60th Medical Operation Squadron. But over repeated sessions in using the VR technology as one component of the Air Force’s overall clinical treatment for PTSD, these airmen have a response that is “less intense” and “more controlled,” said Foster. And, “They feel less overwhelmed by memories that previously bombarded them and consumed their life,” he said. (Travis report by Maj. Vanessa Hillman)