Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that occurs in people who have suffered or observed an event that involved a critical physical or psychological impact. This experience originates an emotional learning that aims to protect the individual from similar situations, but that can lead to a state of hypervigilance that keeps the stress situation as if it were repeating or is such event was going to take place again, this causes a series of clinical disorders that reduce the patient’s quality of life.
PTSD affects millions of people around the world. It is a fact that 15% of the population that is exposed to traumatic stressful events develops PTSD within a month of its occurrence. Normally, the symptoms of PTSD disappear in time, but in some cases they may persist for years, giving rise to derived psychological illnesses which require personalised help.
Virtual reality is a set of technological tools that, through different immersion systems, allows to artificially design and reproduce experiences that are perceived by the user as real. Among other uses, virtual reality can be used to develop therapies that improve the health of people with different types of psychological disorders.
The Institute of Research and Innovation in Bioengineering (I3B) has a long history of research into the design of environments and technologies of virtual and augmented reality, and its application to very diverse areas of human experience; to clinical psychology, among others.
Based on this knowledge, the I3B has developed for INDRA a solution for the treatment of PTSD applicable to people who have suffered violent events, such as gender violence victims. The system allows to design and modify the scenario to reflect the changes in the mood of the patients, or the passage of time, and uses objects and symbols that represent the trauma and allows to elaborate a book about the patient’s life that the patient himself is writing in order to facilitate the process of change.