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Monday, January 30, 2012

Technology and PTSD

Over the course of the last 5 years technology and the growth of social networking have cluttered our mental inbox's. We often think about technology with what we see; whether it is time for a new smartphone, or new flat screen TV. Technology has made leaps and bounds allowing those people who otherwise would not be able to learn; obtain information on a myriad of different topics right at their finger tips.

The mental health field has started to give more attention to how professionals and those seeking help could make appropriate use of technology and theInternet. In my research for this blog post, I came across two articles that were published by the National Institute of Mental Health(NIMH) in 2007 and 2008 on how the usage of technology is helping treat veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD).

In the 2008 NIMH article, it explained how using technology specifically virtual reality exposure therapy it has helped veterans in reduce the war veterans "acoustic startle — the reflex response to sudden loud sounds". The article goes on to say that "PTSD, exposure therapy usually involves going over the memory of the traumatic event until it becomes less scary to think about and the physical and emotional responses to it diminish." It is a type of flooding which is used in therapy to help patients cope and over come a variety of anxiety disorders. These techniques are still being tweaked and modified but has found success with the veteran populations to date. According to in there June 2011 issue reported that Andrea Webb, who is a psycho-physiologist at Draper Laboratory has been trying "to take data from the sensors and create algorithms to reliably detect who has PTSD. "

I mean that is seriously cool right?

Similarly, in 2007 the NIMH conducted a study that showed the use of Internet based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) was a more practical and effective form of treatment than face-to-face interventions. Due to the stigma that comes along with therapy and the lack of resources and cost it may be a more viable option to some.

As technology continues to be part of our lives, we simply need to take stock of how we can benefit from technology other than getting our emails and texts to our fingertips. The achievements have been great, but we need to continue in looking for new ways to help better the lives of those who suffer from mental illness.

Here are the links to those articles!

Have a Super Monday start to your Super Week!!!!

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