Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Virtual reality helps Marine fight PTSD

“It was killing me,” Joshua Musser told CNN about the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Musser, a Marine Corps veteran who fought in the battle of Fallujah in Iraq, realized that he needed help. He turned to Emory clinical psychologist Maryrose Gerardi, who uses virtual reality to treat PTSD.

The treatment required Musser to relive the sights and sounds of war through computer simulation, as Gerardi talked him through the experience.

“They put you back in Iraq where you kind of have one foot here and one foot there,” Musser told CNN. “The only thing outside of Iraq that you hear is her voice. I would shake really bad and I would sweat, but she would be in my ear and pull me back.”

“People often try not to think about what happened to them, and what we’ve found is that’s the worst thing that you can do when you experience a trauma,” Girardi said. “If you don’t process it and deal with it, that’s what can eventually cause PTSD and a chronic problem.”

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