Emory professor treats soldiers with PTSD - CBS46 News

Emory professor treats soldiers with PTSD

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An Emory professor said Thursday there is hope for soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

Barbara Rothbaum, PhD, ABPP, is the Director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program at the Emory University School of Medicine. She was one of the first people to respond to Fort Hood, Texas, in 2009 when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 people. "It is heartbreaking and shocking to hear about it happening anywhere, but to hear about it happening again, at Fort Hood?!"

It did happen again, Wednesday, when Ivan Lopez, an Iraqi War veteran, opened fire at Fort Hood, killing three people and injuring 16. Officials said he was being evaluated for PTSD and also receiving treatment for anxiety and depression.

Rothbaum has treated hundreds of soldiers for PTSD. She said one new tool now being used is a war simulator, which somewhat resembles a war video game. It simulates whatever event, such as a bomb exploding, initially triggered the anxiety in the patient. That, she said, helps patients who have become emotionally disengaged. "I think with the virtual reality, especially with the sounds, it's harder to avoid, so I think we're able to help tap back into their memories and help them process it in a way that helps them feel a little bit more at peace."

She also said medicine, combined with a range of psychotherapies, is helping people. "I've had people tell me, after therapy, they feel like the person they were before (the event) happened."

Emory is currently recruiting soldiers suffering from PTSD for a free research study. For more information, go to the weblinks section on www.cbs46.com.

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