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Virtual Reality Therapy May Help PTSD Patients
Date:5/7/2008

d a 56 percent drop in PSTD measurements after just four virtual reality sessions.

Dr. Randall Marshall, director of Trauma Studies and Service at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, called the finding "exciting."

"We already have very effective cognitive behavioral therapies," he said. "But there are a lot of patients who are avoidant about talking about their trauma. Doing so scares them. Many just hope that the nightmares go away.

"In contrast," Marshall added, "it does seem that people are much more interested in virtual reality -- especially young patients who have the idea that it might be much more fun and interesting and unthreatening. So you'll have a much lower rate of therapy refusal in relation to being offered the opportunity to talk about their issues. So even if it's only just as good as what we have now, it expands the options."

More information

To learn more about PSTD, visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.



SOURCES: Barbara O. Rothbaum, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., professor, psychiatry, and director, Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta; Randall Marshall, M.D., director, Trauma Studies and Service, New York State Psychiatric Institute, and associate professor, clinical psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, New York City; May 7, 2008, presentation, American Psychiatric Association annual meeting, Washington, D.C.


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