Symptoms of PTSD include intrusive memories, pathological avoidance of things related or loosely-related to the trauma, and persistent arousal.
Among its key methods is to slowly reintroduce the person to things associated with the trauma, while dealing with the negative thoughts that are triggered by the situation.
This is relatively straightforward if the person was traumatised by a car crash, as cars, roads and traffic are readily available.
If the person was traumatised by war, however, it is not always feasible to expose the person to ‘low level’ combat conditions as it may be too dangerous, or the person may have been taken out of the combat zone already.
Virtual reality is a possible way of doing this without putting the soldier at risk, while being realistic enough to treat the condition.
While the project has been running for a while, the AAAS presentation contained the latest results, which reportedly suggest a promising outcome for soldiers treated with this method.