Veterans who return from military service and develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a number of treatment options that may help with PTSD symptoms. Medical professionals use prolonged exposure therapy, cognitive processing therapy, and pharmacological therapy with patients, as well as newer, non-traditional methods known as complementary and alternative medicine techniques. These include yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and hypnosis. But there are even newer methods for assisting veterans with PTSD symptoms that focus on technology.
Technology-Based Help for PTSD
More than 10 percent of veterans suffer from PTSD, and this number has caused researchers and doctors to look beyond typical treatments to emerging technologies for support in treating this medical condition.
Two of these technologies are Ellie, a virtual PTSD screening and diagnostic tool; and NeuroFlow, which monitors PTSD symptoms in real time.
It’s often difficult for veterans to discuss the stress and emotional challenges of war, and individuals who suffer from PTSD are often reluctant to provide information about their symptoms on the Post Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA)—a form all service men and women must fill out after returning from service. Because the checklist on this form is impersonal and the information given is recorded and could influence job opportunities for veterans, many simply list that they’re fine.
Thus, the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies developed Ellie—a virtual PTSD screen and diagnostic tool that provides veterans with a way to report their PTSD symptoms through anonymity. Ellie is an artificially-intelligent therapist—or a virtual therapist—displayed on a TV screen. She uses “machine vision to interpret verbal and facial cues,” and she can respond with “sympathetic gestures” when listening to a veteran’s story.
Veterans seem to be more willing to discuss their mental health with Ellie than with a live human. The interviews aren't recorded, and individuals are more likely to get help for their PTSD symptoms later after opening up and talking about them.
NeuroFlow “measures neurological movements in the brain and heart-rate levels to monitor PTSD symptoms in real-time.” It operates by taking readings of a patient’s brain and heart rate to show “stress, relaxation, and engagement levels.” A therapist can monitor all of these measurements and show veterans when they become uncomfortable or stressed and what triggers their PTSD symptoms. In real time, veterans can watch how they’re reacting to information and material that's being communicated to them.
Contact Cuddigan Law
If you’re a veteran who suffers from PTSD, it’s possible to qualify for financial assistance from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. If you need help service-connecting your mental health condition and want to file for disability benefits, contact Cuddigan Law. Our attorneys have been supporting veterans for years, and we’ll carefully examine your case and advise you on the best approach for receiving the maximum in disability benefits. Call us today, and you’ll speak to an intake specialist for free.