Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for PTSD Vietnam Veterans: A Case Study


Virtual reality (VR) integrates real-time computer graphics, body tracking devices, visual displays, and other sensory input devices to immerse a participant in a computer-generated virtual environment that changes in a natural way with head and body motion. VR exposure (VRE) is proposed as an alternative to typical imaginal exposure treatment for Vietnam combat veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This report presents the results of the first Vietnam combat veteran with PTSD to have been treated with VRE. The patient was exposed to two virtual environments, a virtual Huey helicopterflying over a virtual Vietnam and a clearing surrounded by jungle. The patient experienced a 34% decrease on clinician-rated PTSD and a 45% decrease on self-rated PTSD. Treatment gains were maintained at 6-month follow-up.

Journal of Traumatic Stress (Volume 12, Issue 2)