Using virtual reality to treat PTSD

Friday, 05 January 2024 15:24

Using virtual reality to treat PTSD Featured

Written by US Department of Veterans Affairs News Release
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Using virtual reality to treat PTSD VA

Written by By Phil Walls Public Affairs, Southeast Louisiana VA

New Orleans VA using VR to treat PTSD, other mental and physical conditions

Southeast Louisiana VA has adopted a new tool to treat a wide range of mental and physical health conditions. The health care system has begun using virtual reality (VR) therapy to treat conditions that have traditionally required medications and intensive inpatient therapies.

For conditions such as anxiety and depression, VR therapy allows patients to confront and manage their traumas in a safe and controlled environment. By immersing patients in realistic scenarios, VR helps desensitize them to the triggers that cause anxiety, providing a path toward recovery and an improved quality of life.

VR has also shown potential in treating physical ailments, such as those that result in chronic pain or loss of motor skills. Patients can participate in rehabilitative activities designed to improve their symptoms while reducing reliance on costly or specialized equipment. 

Exciting addition to health care services

“Virtual reality therapy is a transformative tool that empowers Veterans on their journey to recovery,” said Dr. Scott Mackey, chief of virtual and integrated care. “It’s an exciting addition to our comprehensive health care services and we are committed to making it accessible to as many Veterans as possible.”

At a recent event in New Orleans, the medical center demonstrated VR technology to over 100 Veterans and health care providers who came to learn about its potential benefits. Attendees also heard from Veterans who had benefitted from the treatments.

“It’s a lifeline.”

“VR therapy has been a game-changer for me,” said one Veteran. “It’s like taking a journey back to my peaceful place whenever I need it. It’s not just therapy, it’s a lifeline.”

VA is working to identify patients who would benefit from the treatment. Interested Veterans can speak with their VA health care provider to learn more. For more information about the new Veterans medical center, clinic locations and other services available to Veterans in southeast Louisiana, visit the New Orleans VA website.

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