Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Vietnam Veterans With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(8):617-622
© Copyright 2017 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
Purchase This PDF for $40.00
If you are not a paid subscriber, you may purchase the PDF.
(You'll need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
Receive immediate full-text access to JCP. You can subscribe to JCP online-only ($86) or print + online ($156 individual).
With your subscription, receive a free PDF collection of the NCDEU Festschrift articles. Hurry! This offer ends December 31, 2011.
If you are a paid subscriber to JCP and do not yet have a username and password, activate your subscription now.
As a paid subscriber who has activated your subscription, you have access to the HTML and PDF versions of this item.
Click here to login.
Did you forget your password?
Still can't log in? Contact the Circulation Department at 1-800-489-1001 x4 or send email
Background: 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
Method: This report presents the results of an
open clinical trial using VRE to treat Vietnam combat veterans
who have DSM-IV PTSD. In 8 to 16 sessions, 10 male patients were
exposed to 2 virtual environments: a virtual Huey helicopter
flying over a virtual Vietnam and a clearing surrounded by
Results: Clinician-rated PTSD symptoms as
measured by the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale, the primary
outcome measure, at 6-month follow-up indicated an overall
statistically significant reduction from baseline (p = .0021) in
symptoms associated with specific reported traumatic experiences.
All 8 participants interviewed at the 6-month follow-up reported
reductions in PTSD symptoms ranging from 15% to 67%. Significant
decreases were seen in all 3 symptom clusters (p < .02).
Patient self-reported intrusion symptoms as measured by the
Impact of Event Scale were significantly lower (p < .05) at 3
months than at baseline but not at 6 months, although there was a
clear trend toward fewer intrusive thoughts and somewhat less
Conclusion: Virtual reality exposure therapy
holds promise for treating PTSD in Vietnam veterans.