ONR Treatment for PTSD
This study is exploring whether exposure therapy for PTSD-diagnosed service members using a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach is more effective when facilitated by virtual reality (VR) tools. Participants include US Navy active duty personnel who have acute PTSD stemming from combat exposure.
Outcome measures focus on the general symptom categories targeted by exposure therapy, such as re-experiencing, avoidance, and arousal. Should VR facilitated psychotherapy prove statistically superior, then a cost-effectiveness analysis will be performed to estimate the relative value of the additional clinical benefit of adjunctive VR therapy.
On April 27, 2006, a VRMC interactive display was part of an exhibit (“Taking Care of Marines”) at Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) Health Fair that won the 1st Place People’s Choice Award. On September 28, 2006, this project was selected for a 30-second pitch in a chance to compete for investor attention at the Tech Coast Venture Network Survivor II event in Irvine, CA. Subsequently, VRMC was chosen to exhibit its PTSD product at the Welcoming Arms Festival on October 21, 2006 and May 12, 2007, and at the Comprehensive Combat Casualty Care Center Summit on December 8, 2006 at NMCSD.
On November 7, 2006, VRMC was awarded a prestigious Director’s Award for its Association of Medical Service Corps Officers of the Navy (AMSCON) poster presentation. This event was held in conjunction with the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) annual meeting in San Antonio. The presentation was titled, “Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report Using Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy with Physiological Monitoring.” The same presentation was made March 2, 2007 at the American Psychological Association Division 21, Division 19 (Society for Military Psychology), and Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Potomac Chapter Annual Symposium on Applied Experimental Research in Fairfax, VA. The poster won 1st Place, Interesting Case Studies at the 2007 NMCSD Academic Research Competition, and was requested to be on display at the May 18 Navy-Wide Academic Research Competition.
The ONR-VRMC VR PTSD program was featured in an article, “Virtual Fallujah Offers Hope for Military PTSD,” published in the April–May 2007 edition of Primary Issues, a newsletter that reaches 90,000 clinicians.