Virtual Reality to Treat PTSD: Interview with Todd Richmond, Director of USC’s Mixed Reality Lab
While PTSD is a significant issue for many of those serving in the military and others who work in traumatic situations, it also affects huge numbers of ordinary people who experience traumatic events such as assaults or natural disasters. Nearly 24 million Americans suffer from PTSD at any given time, and women are twice as likely as men to develop the condition. PTSD can sometimes be overlooked and is reportedly underdiagnosed, but anxiety disorders still cost society approximately $40 billion per year in treatment costs and loss of productivity.
A relatively new option for PTSD therapy involves virtual reality, with the goal of creating multisensory, immersive environments and experiences to treat the condition. The technique can be controlled by a clinician to suit a patient’s needs, and the results so far are promising.
Medgadget had the opportunity to ask Todd Richmond, Director of the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Southern California and IEEE Member, some questions about the concept of using VR for PTSD and how it has worked so far.