For the 20% of veterans returning from the battlefields in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress order, there’s a new potential course of treatment—virtual reality
Developed by University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies, the Bravemind program uses a VR experience for exposure therapy, which helps patients confront their trauma by reliving the experience with the help of a therapist.
According to Bloomberg, the tech has helped veterans adjust to civilian life after combat.
With Bravemind, veterans are able to relieve the incidents that have scarred them in much more vivid detail than with traditional means. Aside from the VR headset, patients experience 3D audio, vibrations, and smells. Therapists are able to control the environment and can even ramp up the intensity of the scenario by introducing various elements like smoke and fire onscreen.
According to Bloomberg, Bravemind has treated thousands of soldiers. The technology is currently used at 100 locations including military bases and VA hospitals. The Pentagon has spent $12 million for a six-year study to compare its effectiveness with other treatments, a first step in expanding its application. See how it works below.