At War With PTSD: Battling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with Virtual Reality is a book from Johns Hopkins University Press. Personal stories, backed up by scientific data, illustrate how military stress can affect Service Members and their families, and how new technology and old fashioned therapy can heal the mental wounds of war. The book is intended for the general reader, including those with an interest in military history, psychology, computer technology, or the neuroscience of how stress affects the brain. Dr. McLay tells how he went from scientist to military physician to a Service Member deployed to Iraq. Along the way we hear the stories of those diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) before and during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also learn about the first scientific study of a new therapy for Active Duty Service Members who served in the Global War on terror, and why computer simulators are helping Service Members to face their demons and overcome them.
Robert McLay is a psychiatrist and the Research Director for Mental Health at Naval Medical Center San Diego. He spent much of his life in school prior to joining the military, having received a BA, an MA, a PhD, and a MD before coming on Active Duty with the Navy. On his birthday, September 11, of 2001, his life changed forever. He was a military physician and the country was going to war. Fourteen times he was told he was going to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, but he was always reassigned. As one of the few MD/PhD psychiatrists in the military, he was put in charge of programs to advance new technology to help Service Members deal with the stress of deployment. Finally, in 2008 he was deployed with First Marine Division to Camp Fallujah, Iraq. This was the opportunity to see if the work in the ivory tower applied on the front lines. While deployed, Dr. McLay tested out Virtual Reality treatments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He interviewed physicians, chaplains, commanders, and Service Members in the field, trying to learn what allowed one person to thrive and another to break in combat. He also wrote to keep himself sane. He is now the author of over 50 scientific articles about mental health and neuroscience, and the book At War With PTSD.
Therapists looking for the Virtual Reality Medical Center treatment manual can download it here
Please note that this is only one of the methods used to perform Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy. Alternative manuals are available from Barbara Rothbaum and Joanne Difidi.
+e-mail: rmclay1 at yahoo. com
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