Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a common and debilitating condition that is estimated to affect around 6% of British military veterans. Symptoms include being constantly on edge and vividly re-experiencing a traumatic event and often result in social isolation.
Researchers and clinicians at Cardiff University and within NHS Wales have completed a randomised controlled trial of a new therapy, known as 3MDR (multi-modular motion-assisted memory desensitisation and reconsolidation). 3MDR is based on a combination of virtual reality exposure as well as eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing, which is an established psychological treatment for PTSD.
The 42 military veterans who took part in the study and had previously had no success using conventional forms of treatment for their PTSD symptoms.
The participants were split into two groups. The group that received immediate treatment with 3MDR showed significantly improved PTSD symptoms than the delayed treatment group at the 12-week follow up.
The delayed treatment group also responded well to 3MDR and the immediate treatment group maintained their improvement when they were followed up at 26 weeks.
Not all participants responded well to 3MDR and further research is now needed to determine who this therapy is likely to help most and whether it is also effective for people with PTSD unrelated to military service.
The trial was funded by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and supported by Health and Care Research Wales.
Thank you to the health boards who supported the trial:
– Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board
– Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
– Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
– Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board