Virtual reality used to treat veterans who have PTSD, and the Invictus Games
Great news out this week for veterans who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as therapists turn to virtual reality to treat the disorder's devastating effects.
This new radical treatment will be met with applause with veterans, I included, as many do not respond to traditional therapies and tend to suffer in silence while experiencing unimaginable symptoms so adverse that many contemplate suicide. Furthermore, I am sure that the families of these unfortunate people will welcome this new treatment as they do, every day suffers along with their loved ones.
Before I go any further, I would like to thank BargainBrute.Com, an online shopping center that has asked me to write positively on any subject I choose. They should be commended as this gives me a reason to write about something very close to my heart.
This new virtual reality treatment for PTSD has just completed a two-year-trial and has ended with fantastic results. With some veterans seeing a 40% improvement in their daily lives, one has said that this new treatment has given him the “biggest impact” of any previous therapies.
How does this treatment work? Like all good things, this virtual reality treatment is simple itself. Patients just walk on a treadmill while facing a screen which inturn projects images of the trauma that that particular veteran may have experienced in the past.
One veteran who took part in the trial “Matt Neve” from Scotland was little more than a boy when he first joined the RAF at the tender age of 16, then 18 sent to Iraq as a truck driver. Part of his job was to pick up wounded soldiers, which he regularly did. His daily duties can only be described as utterly terrifying, something the transcript of his duties (courtesy of the BBC) indicates.
He said: "When you're put into an environment like that when you're seeing guys that have been catastrophically injured, some have been killed, it's quite challenging to describe, going onto add that, "You have all these emotions flowing through you - fear, upset, anxiety - and it all hits you in one wave, and it took its toll on me regularly seeing that daily. It eats away at you so much that something's got to give in the end, and unfortunately for me, it was my mental health."
I have to say his description above, probably because of his bravery, is I am sure, not the whole story, but like many vets, they simply do not want to discourage or frighten other people. This gentleman has my total respect, and I am sure that he will have helped many because of both his words and the treatment method used.
We have Professor Jon Bisson of Cardiff University in Wales, the United Kingdom, to thank for this newfound virtual reality treatment named “3MDR.” In my opinion, if anyone deserves a noble prize, then it should be awarded to both him and his team. Our thanks should also go to the vets who gave up their time to test out the treatment in the trials.
An indicator of just how successful the trials were is that other tests will occur in the Netherlands, the United States, and Israel. Furthermore, it is planned to widen future PTSD trials to include members of the civilian population, which is desperately required because of these initial successes. It is estimated that PTSD affects at least 1 in 13 people before they reach 18. As the incidents of PTSD within the nation's police force have risen to crisis levels never before seen, this virtual reality treatment could not have come at a better time.
Matt only became aware of what was affecting him so severely 12 years after leaving the RAF when he spoke to others who have PTSD while attending the Invictus Games in 2016. This brings us to the 2nd part of this narrative, “The Invictus Games.”
The Invictus Games was the brainchild of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and incorporates many different multi-sport events geared to injured or sick military personnel and their veterans. Events include wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing.
The events name “Invictus” is the Latin word meaning "unconquered" or "undefeated" and was inspired by the Warrior Games, which takes place in America. The first “Invictus” was held in September 2014, taking place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London the United Kingdom, and was attended by, Prince Harry, Prince Charles, David Cameron (X Prime Minister), Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, and Frederik Crown Prince of Denmark. Michelle Obama, the first lady of the US, sent a pre-recorded message of support.
The first Invictus games attracted more than 400 competitors worldwide and were watched by 5,000 people, all crammed into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London. The games finished with a star-studded gala closing concert with Bryan Adams heading the list of the many pop stars from around the world, all of whom had given up their time, especially for the event. All in all, the event was a truly inspirational event that raised awareness of the grotesque problem of PTSD.
The world would be kept waiting until 2016 when on the 8th March, the 2nd Invictus games occurred at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World and were attended by Prince Harry, Michelle Obama, and former president George W. Bush. Queen Elizabeth II and Barrack Obama created a promotional video that was broadcast around the world.
The following year in 2017, the games were held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and it was here that the world got their first glimpse of both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, and as we all now know, they were married a couple of years later.
What has all this done for people who have PTSD? Simply put, they now know that they are not alone, and in many cases, have at last found out what was wrong with them for the first time. No longer did both they and their families have to suffer in silence (something the military was very good at allowing them to do in the 1970s and 80s). They now could openly discuss and get help from others.
My sincere thanks go out to BargainBrute.Com America's favorite place to shop online for giving a platform to write this. Still, most of all, I thank both Professor Jon Bisson of Cardiff University in Wales and his Royal Highness Prince Harry for bringing the troubles of PTSD out into the open and, in doing so, saving the lives of thousands of people from around the world.