New technology is helping veterans cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other anxiety disorders.
Psychologists at the James E. Van Zandt VA medical center are using video games that utilize neuro feedback in order to re-train the brain to be less reactive to triggers.
The treatment gives the patient feedback on what’s happening in their brain in real-time. It works by attaching sensors to a person’s head, over specific regions of the brain. The patient then plays a videogame in which the game responds to what happens inside the circuitry of the brain, showing a positive reaction when the brain patterns are calming, or slowing down when they are not.
“For veterans that really struggle with anxiety this helps to teach them to really calm their brain down so they’re less reactive to triggers and they’re better able to just relax and function in their daily life.” 12:58:02 They sleep a little bit better when they do the neuro-feedback usually, they’re able to get out and enjoy activities. They feel better and more relaxed and they’re less irritable.”
The treatment has been in use for almost a year and is a good alternative for people who find talk therapy too difficult.
“This is a treatment that’s very accessible for veterans. For some veterans of course we have talk therapy and medication therapy but some veterans don’t want to do that or they’re not ready for that kind of treatment and so this gives them a completely different option.”
Shawney Bennati works for the medical center and is a veteran herself who struggles with PTSD.
“When you’re doing this videogame, it’s just you and the game and you’re really focusing in on that game and what you’re doing to get a positive reaction out of the game and to succeed in that game. When you’re noticing that hey, what I’m doing is actually succeeding in the game and doing what the game is intended to do it makes you come out of here feeling like ok, I can really get better and work on this.”
“It actually calmed me. It made me not pay attention to my triggers.”
For more information, you can contact the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center.