Virtual Reality Exposure for PTSD Due to Military Combat and Terrorist Attacks

Abstract

Humans exposed to war and terrorist attacks are at risk for the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Numerous reports indicate that the incidence of PTSD in both returning Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) military personnel and survivors of the 9/11 World Trade Center (WTC) attacks is significant. These situations have served to motivate research on how to better develop and disseminate evidence-based treatments for PTSD and other related psychosocial conditions. Virtual reality (VR) delivered exposure therapy for PTSD is currently being used to treat combat and terrorist attack related PTSD with initial reports of positive outcomes. This paper presents an overview and rationale for the use of VR exposure therapy with anxiety disorders and PTSD and describes the status of two systems (Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan and Virtual World Trade Center) developed for this purpose.

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Correspondence to Albert Rizzo.

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Rizzo, A., Cukor, J., Gerardi, M. et al. Virtual Reality Exposure for PTSD Due to Military Combat and Terrorist Attacks. J Contemp Psychother 45, 255–264 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10879-015-9306-3

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Keywords

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Virtual reality
  • Prolonged exposure