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Therapists use Virtual Reality for Veterans

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the games-that-heal dept.

United States 198

ahoehn writes "NPR is reporting that researchers from the University of Southern California along with the Office of Naval Research are simulating combat situations which cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for theraputic purposes. Their immersive virtual reality technique seems to consist of the game Full Spectrum Warrior, headphones, and a set of VR goggles. From the article: 'The object is to help veterans come to terms with what they've experienced in places like Iraq and Afghanistan by immersing vets in the sights and sounds of those theaters of battle.' One can only assume that soon someone be reforming carjackers by letting them play the GTA."

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198 comments

reforming carjackers by letting them play the GTA? (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363573)

it will work only if you pay them the street value of a stolen car for each one they get in the game...

summary written by cocksucker (0, Troll)

master_meio (834537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363584)

One can only assume that soon someone be reforming carjackers by letting them play the GTA.

Why don't you shut the fuck up now?

Isn't this a little backwards? (5, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363585)

I'd think that this technology would be more useful as a training tool, to help new soldiers learn what to expect in combat. Also, couldn't this be used as a physological filter, to identify those most likely to come down with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the first place?

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363604)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder sounds to me a little like the ADHD of the 70s. A made up syndrome because people remember some bad times and can't handle it. Big deal - everyone has really emotional moments in their life, and dealing with it is part of growing and being human. Treating it as a disorder and pumping people full of pills for it is probably just making it HARDER to get over IMHO.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (2, Insightful)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363670)

I believe ADHD is real. I just don't believe that is a disorder; it sounds to me like natural human behavior.

PTSD is also a natural human reaction to unbelievable emotional stress. We all have bad times, and dealing with them unaided is healthy practice and should be encouraged. However, one must have empathy for people who have killed other people in battle or watched their best friends get picked off by an unseen sniper. These are not normal experiences, and it is unsurprising that they can have lasting adverse affects on a person's ability to lead a normal life after service.

If a soldier has no difficulty dealing with such experiences, or if a rape victim thinks his/her rape was "no big deal" then in my opinion, there is something seriously wrong with those people.

I don't know what "bad times" the parent has been through in his own life, but I'm going to venture a guess that he is dramatically over-exagerrating his own minor trials.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (2, Insightful)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363821)

On the one hand you are saying ADHD and PTSD are "normal", but on the other hand you completely dismiss how others cope with these extreme experiences.

PTSD is also a natural human reaction to unbelievable emotional stress. We all have bad times, and dealing with them unaided is healthy practice and should be encouraged. However, one must have empathy for people who have killed other people in battle or watched their best friends get picked off by an unseen sniper. These are not normal experiences, and it is unsurprising that they can have lasting adverse affects on a person's ability to lead a normal life after service.

Sir, would you advise a cancer patient to deal with it unaided?

My wife suffered PTSD when her ex-husband almost died. She received therapy and no longer suffers from PTSD. She and I are owners/board members of a non-profit organization specializing in offering tools for dealing with mental health issues. Many of our communinty and staff members suffer from PTSD along with other disorders.

PTSD is a debilitating disorder that most people cannot overcome unaided.

You can check out the DSM-IV criteria for PTSD here: http://www.mental-health-today.com/ptsd/dsm.htm [mental-health-today.com]

I don't know what "bad times" the parent has been through in his own life, but I'm going to venture a guess that he is dramatically over-exagerrating his own minor trials.

You admit that you don't know, but you still dismiss his claims. The fact is, everyone deals with different circumstances differently. We all have different strengths and weaknesses.

If a soldier has no difficulty dealing with such experiences, or if a rape victim thinks his/her rape was "no big deal" then in my opinion, there is something seriously wrong with those people.

Again, everyone copes in different ways. What is "seriously wrong" is that these people have to have these experiences in the first place. How they cope with those experiences is not "wrong". It may be harmful, ineffective, unusual, or difficult to understand. It may be indicative of some other type of disorder or illness, but it does not mean there is anything "seriously wrong" with them.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (1)

Jeff Molby (906283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363832)

Sir, would you advise a cancer patient to deal with it unaided?

I think he was drawing a distinction between "typical bad times" which everyone goes through and extreme experiences that can cause PTSD.

The former can almost always be overcome w/o professional help, while the latter obviously requires assistance.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (1)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363841)

Sir, would you advise a cancer patient to deal with it unaided?

Wow, I completely misrepresented my thoughts.

What I meant to say is that we all have bad times (like getting laid off, losing a pet, etc) and that these can usually be handled by a healthy person and are not the types of experiences that lead to PTSD. I intended (though I did a very poor job) to highlight the distinction between day-to-day unfortunate happenings and the horrors that some people are forced to endure. Truly traumatic experiences, such as the one your wife endured, can usually not be born alone with professional help.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363849)

ADHD so severe that you can't pay attention to a complicated task no matter how much you want to is a disorder. PTSD so severe that it prevents someone from interacting normally with others is a disorder.

Some people with ADHD don't have it too bad, or can cope effectively with it; others need the drugs. Some people with PTSD can come to terms with what happened to them (or worse, what they had to do), they'll be fine; somewhere, everyone has a limit for how much they were prepared to deal with themselves, and going past that, they'll need help.

Anyway, my point is, don't assume that someone with either ADHD or PTSD is just over-exaggerating just because they're normal things that some people live with just fine. For some, it really is debilitating.

That Dirty Open Secret (2, Insightful)

Markus Registrada (642224) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364270)

"one must have empathy for people who have killed other people in battle"

Something none of the military brass like to talk about... PTSD, overwhelmingly, debilitates soldiers who have personally killed people. "Combat stress" -- from being shot at -- is incidental by comparison. The ones ordered to slaughter unarmed civilians, particularly women and children, get it worst. (Bomber pilots and artillery specialists do the most of that, but find it easiest to pretend; they don't usually see their victims fall.) Those who think honestly know draftees are really no different from civilians. Soldiers who "only" had their legs blown off get off easy, again by comparison.

My father used to call Viet Nam vets with PTSD crybabies. I asked him if he (as a Naval officer, earlier) had ever been obliged to kill anybody. He must have thought it over carefully, because I never heard him criticize a vet after that.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (1)

Silent1 (546110) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363700)

i worked with a guy that has Post Traumatic Stress disorder. Hes got a few purple hearts and has a lot of training under his belt. He told me some scary shit he went thru that nobody should go thru and then came the PTSD, its real trust me.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (1)

Jeff Molby (906283) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363750)

I'll bite.

PTSD IS a problem. A lifetime of popping pills is probably not the best answer to it, but it is a problem.

My brother's 3-man fireteam walked into an ambush in Afghanistan. He was the only one to survive. He was shot in the back and and had to lie motionless, face down as the afghanis picked through his pockets.

I'm understating the issue by saying that he's pretty jumpy about people touching his back.

These are experiences that you don't just "get over" after a few days. It will take a good deal of therapy for him to come to terms with the fear and helplessness that he had to deal with on that day.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (1)

blinksilver (889330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363650)

I don't clam to know much about this topic, but isn't this going to work the same way they help people overcome phobias. In small amounts, introduce the what is causing the fear in an effort to bring the person to term with what they fear.

Re:Isn't this a little backwards? (4, Informative)

jarrettwold2002 (601633) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364283)

They already have a filtering process in place for people that may develop serious psychological problems courtesy of combat.

It's Basic Military Training.

I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder vis a vi BMT in the Air Force. I was also discharged/entry level separated.

Basic Training is run deliberately under a high stress training environment. The idea being that they can simulate a large number of variables that play into a combat situation.

During BMT, you can expect to lose a vast amount of sleep, be presented with challenging (and surprising) problems that have to be addressed with a very low tolerance of failure, and 'maintain military bearing' during the entire process.

Personally, I never got more than roughly two hours of sleep a night. This is from being relatively keyed up, having an un-diagnosed mental disorder, and the atmosphere. You're supposed to sleep a minimum of four hours, however that was rarely the case depending on how pissed off our MTI was.

During my stay in the 319th TRS, we had around 30-40 people, consistently, waiting to be discharged for mental disorders. The door rotated daily.

Average time it takes to be discharged can vary depending on what your being discharged for, however, if it's mental illness they try to get you out of there in two weeks or so.

All in all, BMT was an interesting experience, they do take mental illness damned seriously down at Lackland AFB. Further, if enlisted or NCO's give you trouble regarding mental illness, leadership doesn't tolerate it.

I watched my MTI's (drill seargents) in the 319th discharge, get their asses chewed more than a few times by various officers over us getting harassed. I'm not entirely sure, but I think one lost a stripe over some comment he made to a group of us.

As far as the other branches treatment of mental disorders, I've heard horror stories. Air Force has been serious about this for quite a while now, though.

The rapists? (2, Funny)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363589)

Therapists use Virtual Reality for Veterans

Did anyone else read this "the rapists use virtual reality for veterans" ?

right (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363590)

Because reforming someone and treating them for PTS is entirely in the same ball park.

Grammar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363591)

Yeah, they all be reforming a shit.

HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU TOLERATE *THIS* SHIT? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363599)

Hi, I'm Anonymous Coward. You might remember me from this post. [slashdot.org]

Why the fuck does LILO fail to create a MBR on hda1 when I have a USB pen drive connected to myt PC? USB Is fucking ten years old! How the fuck is Linux's USB support so shitty? And why the fuck do I have to "mount" my pen drive before I can use it?

Sorry again for going offtopic. Once again the original subject must hae been truly awe-inspiring.

There immersive virtual reality technique... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363606)

NO NO NO NO NO.

Done Be (5, Funny)

icypyr0 (636724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363610)

One can only assume that soon someone be reforming carjackers by letting them play the GTA.

Obviously, this should've been "soon someone done be reforming". Pft.. these posters need to learn English.

Re:Done Be (1)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363645)

I think they need to start moderating posts "Illiterate". That being said, this post and its parent will soon be moderated "Offtopic".

Imagine.... (2, Funny)

guildsolutions (707603) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363611)

Therapists using this for pedophiles?

im sure it will be tried at some point, somewhere... And claimed to be 'theraputic'.

Re:Imagine.... (0, Troll)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363671)

I have a therapy for pedophiles. .357 to the temple. Works every time.

Sometimes, we need a little less understanding, and a lot more ass kicking.

Re:Imagine.... (1)

uncle_fausty (893001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363686)

Well, that came squarely out of left field.

If there's one thing that irritates me above all others, it's the total inability of humans to contain a discussion on any topic to that topic.

Re:Imagine.... (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363701)

Even if it wasn't used for "therapy" but instead used for a simulation - one that medicates the need for younglings - then it's a good thing right?

Anything to stop actual crimes from being committed, but I'm sure that you wouldn't support it then either.

Re:Imagine.... (1)

miscGeek (594829) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363728)

I have a better way to stop the crime from being committed. Just find a good pair of garden shears and remove the offending organ!

Lex Talionis! (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363836)

Jaywalkers beware!

Seriously, are you an American? The founding fathers are spinning in their graves....

Re:YOU LIKE CHILD PORN?!?!?!? (1)

miscGeek (594829) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364149)

My post was more aimed at child molestors, and was partly in jest. Sorry, guess I should have included a :) in my original post.

You do make a good point though. There have been cases of parents arrested and I'm sure a few convictions for having pictures of their kids nude or partial nude. i.e bath tub pictures.

So, I do see a problem with having punishments that are that severe. Although, only because of the few innocent people that are convicted. No amount of compensation would make up for that type of punishment. Same reason I'm not entirely for the death penalty.

Re:Imagine.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13364117)

Man.... If it were that simple I'd be all in favor of it. But you would also need to cut off the rapist's nose, tongue, and fingers. And even without these items the rapist could still harm children.

Anon post, it doesn't mesh with PC USA at all, but we do have the power to define rape as a capital crime and execute all of the rapists. 0

Re:Imagine.... (3, Insightful)

value_added (719364) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363922)

Even if it wasn't used for "therapy" but instead used for a simulation - one that medicates the need for younglings - then it's a good thing right?

Well,that's a tad more intelligent than a bullet to the brain suggested by someone else. Paedophilia is defined as an interest or desire, not an act. The word for the act is molestation or rape. Knowing what words mean is helpful to intelligent discussion, innit?

Satisfying desires or interests of any sort take an infinite number of forms, most of which are benign. With respect to sexual desires, watching X-rated videos found in your local video store is one form. I trust that requires little explanation for the /. crowd. Moreover, watching those videos, does not encourage you to become a rapist, cause you to become a rapist or otherwise make you guilty of any crime. Just as obvious, right?

The problem, however, is that the above common-sense logic, in the context of underage material, is turned on its head. Viewing such material is considered a crime. A serious crime. The reasoning behind this IIRC stems from a Supreme Court decision where it was argued and accepted that such material encourages the person act out on his desires. It has also been argued and accepted in related cases that the distribution of such material creates further demand for them, thereby creating a market of some sort, hence the new laws that make mere possesion a crime.

So, while watching Jenna Jameson do the nasty won't make you a rapist, watching Natalie Portman do the same (to use the current reasoning) will. And, irrespective of your actions or lack of them, you will be deemed a threat to society. And if you are found to be in possession of a topless picture of Natalie Portman, you could very well end up in jail.

Most paedophiles hide in their own maturbatory fantasy worlds and are of no threat to anyone except themselves. Similary, the most of what is considered kiddy porn, urban legends aside, involves no sexual acts.

With respect to the topic at hand, my own opinion is that a therapeutic use would have the same value as that of a Jenna Jameson video. Which isn't much. Satisfying, perhaps, at least to her fans, but not therapeutic. And for the records, I really don't know WTF Jenna Jameson is, and used her name only because I've seen it bandied about on / when the topic involves RAID devices.

Re:Imagine.... (0, Troll)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363871)

Why not?

Immerse them in a high-resolution, millions-of-polygons virtual playground full of tiny kids, and every time they approach one give the vice clamped to their nuts another quick half-turn.

If they don't learn soon the problem's solved either way, isn't it?

Over their, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363617)

over their, send the word, send the word, to beware...

GrammarForGeeks.org
Please contribute!!

Re:Over their, (1, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363651)

Their: Belonging to them.
There: A place, not here.
They're: A contraction, meaning "They Are".

Re:Over their, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363742)

Congrats--you and I and maybe 5 other people are aware of the difference. And, I'm sick of the BS arguments that it's just nitpicking and we shouldn't pay attention. I had to stop and read that sentence over to make sense of it.

Their or there? (1)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363623)

...researchers from the University of Southern California along with the Office of Naval Research are simulating combat situations which cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for theraputic purposes. There immersive virtual reality technique seems to consist of the game Full Spectrum Warrior, headphones, and a set of VR goggles.
Was that supposed to read "Their immersive" or "There, immersive"?

Re:Their or there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363656)

Either way the sentence is a word salad. Think about it--if the intention was for there to be a comma, it would have to read "There... techniques seem" or There, the... technique seems".

Re:Their or there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13364052)

Actually, thats "They're immersive" and not Their or There.

Don't correct someone else's English if you can't do better yourself.

Re:Their or there? (0, Troll)

hungrygrue (872970) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364101)

You are an idiot. At least you were smart enough to realise that you are an idiot and post as an anonymous coward so as to not embarrass yourself. "They're" is a contraction for "They Are" "Their" is posessive which is what was originally meant.

Their - that which belongs to them

they're - They Are

there - that location

If you would care to read the text you will see that the form which you suggested is, of the three, the only one which could not possibly have been intended.

Behind the times my good doctor (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363625)

I say we just set them down in front of Battlefield 2 with a really nice rig.

I have some reservations about the approach though. I fear we would trade one pain for another. Honestly, there is nothing worse then no cooperation on a 64 player pub server.

At least the latter scar is at least more common and thus a larger pool of support is available.

Blurring reality is a good idea (2, Interesting)

infonography (566403) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363629)

If you can't differentiate the Bad real memories from the bad game memories it robs them of effective power. But beyond that, what bothered me on games earlier on in them is could I have done this or that better. So by running it again and again, I can come up with new ways and win.

One bit I worry is that we will be condemming our troops to Nintendo Wars, programming robot killers who return to home unbalanced. The GTA Defense may actually be real in 10 years.

Re:Blurring reality is a good idea (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363923)

Fro mTFA I don't think they're actually playing the games - just being immersed in the environment.

Strapping someone with PTSD into a VR chair and making them repeatedly kill people isn't going to make them better, but exposing them to the stimuli (environment, sounds, etc) can help them go back through the feelings they had and deal with them.

IIRC, in PTSD these feelings have which have been pushed into the subconscious where they fester and give rise to the disorder. The therapist can dynamically vary the immersiveness of the simulation by phasing in and out things like smoke, impaired vision, gunfire sounds, etc for added or reduced "realism". By allowing the vets to confront the feelings one step at a time, and ramping down the realism before they get distressed, the patient can start to work through the traumas, instead of retreating from them and bottling them up.

It actually sounds like a good idea to me, and it's fascinating that we've actually got the technology to the stage where the brain can be fooled into thinking it's real on a subconscious level.

How callous... (4, Insightful)

stienman (51024) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363635)

One can only assume that soon someone be reforming carjackers by letting them play the GTA.

Because, as everyone knows, a criminal hijacking cars results in the same trauma that soldier experiences when his humvee is blown up.

I can't believe someone could even equate the "thrill" of performing a criminal act with the trauma of war.

The psychologists are trying to help the soldiers understand why they act and react the way they do after a traumatic event. One Mash episode scratches the surface of this type of therapy. A doctor experiences something which seems ordinary in the daily life of a soldier, but he later tries to prevent another physician from administering gas anesthesia to a patient in need of surgery. During therapy the doctor comes to realize the the "ordinary" experience was actually a mother smothering her child to prevent the nearby enemy from finding the group's location.

A PTSD soldier desires a normal life.

-Adam

And in addition (1)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363873)

It's the concept of desensitization.

You let the veteran relive his experiences in a non-hostile environment. Through repetition, it allows the individual to "delink" his experience from the autonomic alarm response that these things generate.

Vets with PTSD are often hyper-alert, and exhibit "scanning" type behavior. Simple, common experiences can trigger an immense autonomic fight-or-flight response, complete with panic, sweating, rapid heartrate, elevated blood pressure, flushing, etc...

This isn't about GTA or anything similar... it's real, actual, well-established therapy.

Re:And in addition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13364152)

Here comes the pseudo-science.

Altogether now (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363639)

One can only assume that soon someone be reforming carjackers by letting them play the GTA

All your grammatical errors are belong to us

Re:Altogether now (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363720)

All your not knowing how to close italic tags are belong to us

Re:Altogether now (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363766)

All our knowledge of ending sentences with the appropriate punctuation are belong to neither of us.

Yeah you're super funny. (3, Insightful)

BaronSprite (651436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363642)

Good job trying to patronize treatment that could help people whom selflessly risked their lives (even if you agree with it or not) to help protect your country and you. Your little GTA comment was completely unneccesary.

Cheap Shot (5, Insightful)

kwilliamyoungatl (835177) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363648)

One can only assume that soon someone be reforming carjackers by letting them play the GTA.
This is a cheap shop that vividly reveals the author's ignorance.
In the first place, there is an enormous moral difference between carjacking and attempting to kill and capture, for example terrorists in Afganistan.
Moreover, PTSS is a *real* issue. People going to war see unpleasant things, and dealing with that may be difficult. The intention is not to get them to feel bad about what they did, but to adjust to life where getting shot at is not an issue.

Scuttlemonkey should be ashamed.

Ill take the rapists for 400 alex (0, Offtopic)

hobotron (891379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363661)



The day is mine, Trebeck!

Re:Ill take the rapists for 400 alex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363803)

Dear Mods,

Just because you don't get the joke doesn't mean it's offtopic.

NPR had a better article (2, Interesting)

master_meio (834537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363662)

Virtual Reality Therapy for Combat Stress

Day to Day, August 19, 2005 A new, high-tech system designed to treat military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder -- or PTSD -- may be familiar to fans of a squad-based combat video game.

Using components from the popular game Full Spectrum Warrior, psychologist Skip Rizzo and his colleagues have fashioned a "virtual" world that simulates the sources of combat stress.

The project is a joint venture between the Institute for Creative Technologies -- a cutting-edge research lab at the University of Southern California -- and the Office of Naval Research. The object is to help veterans come to terms with what they've experienced in places like Iraq and Afghanistan by immersing vets in the sights and sounds of those theaters of battle.

The soldier being treated wears VR goggles and headphones. Using a tablet-based interface, a therapist can activate or remove the sounds of gunshots or the sight of smoke, depending on a patient's reaction. The idea is to re-introduce the patients to the experiences that triggered the trauma, gradually, until the memory no longer incapacitates them.

Eventually, Rizzo believes the therapy will include other stimuli, such as vibrations to simulate the impact of bombs or rumbling of tanks, and even the smells of war -- the body odor, garbage and spices of urban combat, for example.

Early results from trials suggest virtual reality therapy is uniquely suited to a generation raised on video games. The gaming aspect of the treatment also helps to lessen the stigma associated with getting therapy.

but do the programmers get therapy? (0, Flamebait)

artifex2004 (766107) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363682)

After having to create torn-apart bodies of women and children and sounds of others dying?

Re:but do the programmers get therapy? (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363959)

That's not the job of the programmers. That's all done by the artists and level designers. Those guys are allready pretty messed up, I don't think it could get any worse.

You mean (1)

mynickwastaken (690966) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363687)

They tried with alcohol... they failed.
They tried with drug therapy... they failed.

Now they are trying with Virtual Reality?!

It seems that they are out of ideas.

W in VR (0)

CmdrTaco on (468152) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363696)

Can we have GWB transfered to a VR world where he marries a black gay dude with a big dick? And they live in Massachusetts. And George is the lady.

I hate that guy.Thanks rednecks! Now you can't even fill the gas tanks of your lawnmowers when you come to mow my lawn!

why? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363736)

Why are they doing this? The soldiers knew what they were getting into when they signed up, they knew the risks. If they felt they couldn't handle the stresses of war then they shouldn't have signed up.

It's called Personal Responsibility. It's not our job to hand hold people who have gotten themselves into these situations, it's a waste of taxpayers' money.

cost effective soldiers, respect for vets (4, Insightful)

handy_vandal (606174) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363885)

Why are they doing this? The soldiers knew what they were getting into when they signed up, they knew the risks. If they felt they couldn't handle the stresses of war then they shouldn't have signed up.

The army needs all the soldiers it can get. Recruitment numbers are not good. Stop-loss orders are in effect. Perhaps AWOLs are up, I'm not sure.

In any case, the army has a basic interest in keeping soldiers in fighting trim. If videogame therapy helps return a soldier to the battlefield, that's a good thing for the army. Second best, returning a soldier to a non-combat support task. Failing that, finding a way to lower VA costs ... such as replacing human therapists with computers.

Just a thought -- I'm not army myself, not really qualified.

I must say, too, that there are some profoundly insensitive posts in this thread. Don't talk to me about Wasting Taxpayer Money on vets. I don't happen to support the Iraq wars, but goddamit, soldiers keep getting fucked by their superiors, war after war. World War One: bonus marchers. World War Two, Korea: post-war bomb testing, irradiated vets, cancer, official denial. Vietnam ... where to begin, so many horrors to choose from. So show some fucking respect for vets, okay?

-kgj

psychological casualties (1)

The Tyro (247333) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364095)

are NOT what the army needs, or wants. Proper therapy and post-combat counseling/guidance can prevent a soldier from becoming a psychological casualty; who becomes an inhabitant of the VA system and never quite recovers his normal life.

Patriotism aside, the army has a huge vested interest in keeping these guys sane and mentally healthy. Combat veterans maintain an institutional memory of the "lessons learned" from their battles and experiences. These are lessons that are learned at great cost in men and material, and can save lives in the future. Seasoned soldiers are far superior to green troops.

Those young NCOs and company-grade officers are the core of the armed forces, and will form the backbone of that force for the next 15-20 years. The military needs every one of those Iraq vets healthy and sane, particularly since they now possess expertise in urban combat, the most-costly and dangerous of military endeavors.

Those combat vets are a national resource, forged in the crucible of Iraq, and they need to be treated as such.

Re:psychological casualties (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364305)

"Those young NCOs and company-grade officers are the core of the armed forces, and will form the backbone of that force for the next 15-20 years."

Of course the other possibility is many of them will become the backbone of an antiwar movement and might aggressively work to bring down the government that lied them in to a grizzly, pointless war.

Thats what happened with many of the vets coming back from the Russian occupation of Afghanistan in the 80's. They turned in to the heart of a movement that helped bring down the Communist party (a.k.a. the fat cats), who sent them off to a horrific war where and turned them in to both bloody thirsty killers and sitting ducks with PTSD in spades.

The vets in Iraq aren't in quite as bloody and savage a place as Afghanistan was and maybe they well get out sooner. But then then too the vets in Iraq have a nasty edge, they now know that the top two reasons the Republican fat cats used to justify sending them in harms way were a complete lie. Don't think the Soviet Union sunk so low as to lie to justify invading Afghanistan.

Of course another route Iraqi vets might take is to stay in and rise in the ranks. Maybe down the road they will fight harder against civilians who both lie them in to a war, and completely botch post victory planning which led them in to a quagmire. Unfortunately people who make it in to the top ranks of the military tend to do it because they always follow orders, no matter how insane they are.

"The military needs every one of those Iraq vets healthy and sane, particularly since they now possess expertise in urban combat, the most-costly and dangerous of military endeavors."

You are talking like you are looking forward to the prospect of the U.S. spending the next 20-30 years getting bogged down fighting one urban insurgency after another. To be honest I think I would prefer the U.S. had no need for soldiers with urban warfare skills to fight more Iraq's in the future because either:

A. The politicians figure out better ways to resolve problems
B. If the politicans do have to resort to force that they aren't so stupid as to get bogged down in urban insurgency quagmires that are nearly impossible to win.

Urban warfare is universally bad because its the form of ground warfare that results in maximum innocent civilian casualties which is why many of those vets have PTSD, watching women and children get waxed.

ScuttleMonkey, listen up. (4, Insightful)

markybob (802458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363738)

I'm a disabled veteran and have struggled to come to terms with what I've been through during two deployments. I expect an apology from you and Slashdot in general for posting such a demeaning thing about those who've tried to protect their countries.

Re:ScuttleMonkey, listen up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363992)

An apology? Give it up, soldier. This is slashdot after all.

why do veterans think they are better than others (2, Insightful)

hildi (868839) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364026)

just because you had a job where you can get killed doesn't make you special. lots of people get killed at their jobs, and lots of people risk their lives every day for others. the main difference is that most of them dont get medals or parades for it.

Why not Logotherapy? (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363776)


Sounds like they're doing simple desensitization. They should introduce paradoxical reaction. Have an army of Hello, Kitty! attack them with yarn balls.

Clockwork Orange (2, Funny)

thomag (894176) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363789)

Sure we could use this on criminals. Just give them a little shock when they're naughty. And it'll be just like that Clockwork Orange business where this idea worked great.

What about the other side? (2, Insightful)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363855)

Think about how much bigger the post traumatic stress load must be on the other side(s) of this war, that takes 10 - 100 times as high casualities, and presumably has very few therapy options available.

I don't know much about PST, but I can't think it will manifest itself in ways that are good for anyone.

PTSD and Reality (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363894)

Just a couple things I would like to point out. First off PTSD is not always triggered by one traumatic event but also from the day to day stressors of having your life threatened. Some studies have actually stated this is the most frequent cause. Also I would imagine that these stressors have to do with actually believing your life is threatened and not from your body being tricked into thinking that. In other words making loud sounds and playing some video game isn't going to give you PTSD.

However the purpose behind this is for a theraputic effect. I'm not sure how this will work either. PTSD is like brain damage done by intense stress. This is something you basically live with for your entire life. It is not something learned or like a phobia. This is serious mental damage. I just don't see how playing a video game is going to help.

War Is Good - It's Only A Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13363926)

So you're having nasty recollections of the war you fought in?

No Problem... just numb your brain and conscience by immersing yourself in a virtual war. You'll stop feeling so bad when you learn: War Is Good...War Is Good...

Just Another Vet

Games help, not hinder? (1)

Kattana (635282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13363952)

If games are being used to help people deal with violent sitation maybe this will take the air out of the whole violent games make kids do bad things argument. If playing them lets kids cope better with the violence out there in the world, then maybe we can try and find the real cause, like say the parents that are blaming everything on games.

compulsive auto theft? (1)

rakslice (90330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364166)

I don't know why, but for some reason vehicular kleptomania seems less plausible than regular kleptomania...

Hope this works out... (2, Funny)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | more than 8 years ago | (#13364217)

I really hope that Full Spectrum Warrior is a better theraputic tool than it is a video game.

-B

Someone please quote 'A Clockwork Orange' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13364265)

because I don't have my copy handy.

- m

idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13364278)

you guys have no idea what you are talking about

one of the best ways to defeat fear is to face it
and one of the best ways to face your fears is in VR

thats why they use VR to treat phobia

This could combine well with (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13364350)

the use of MDMA in PTSD (as currently being studied by Michael Mithoefer)...
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