How Virtual Reality Treatment for PTSD Provides Hope

July 6, 2020

Bettina Pavone

Virtual reality treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Anxiety Disorders (AD) is becoming more and more  accepted by doctors and therapists. Researchers in countless sub-fields continue to build on their promising findings.

Using exposure therapy in VR recreates a trigger environment to help patients re-encounter traumatizing experiences under the guidance of a doctor or mental health professional. As the patient becomes more familiar with a set of fear-inducing stimuli within a relaxed clinical environment, they become more accustomed to and intolerant of those stimuli. 

Researchers employ functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure alterations in their patients’ brain activity during and after VR exposure. In one study, an impressive 80% of participants showed improvements in their PTSD symptoms. A collaborative study between the University of Central Florida, University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Medical University of South Carolina found that Virtual Reality treatment for PTSD resulted in significant decreases on the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale and the PTSD Checklist-Military version for both groups. Read more about that study here.

The problem with traditional exposure therapy for PTSD and phobia patients has historically been control and budget. How can a therapist recreate the terrible environment of, say, wartime, keep it safe, yet do so at a reasonable cost?

Now, doctors, therapists and researchers are discovering the tremendous utility of virtual environments for individuals afflicted with PTSD and ADs. Immersive technology is affordable and virtual environments are easy to generate and adjust. Medical experts without programming experience can fine-tune the virtual environments and introduce “trigger stimuli” according to their expert discretion.

To learn more about configuring a custom VR solution for your virtual reality PTSD research or therapy application, please contact us at

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