UCF trial program uses new, quicker virtual reality treatment for PTSD

UCF’s Restores Program is making strides in its mission to make virtual reality treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more available.

FOX 35 first told you about the UCF Restores Program in June, but now, it is more personalized and convenient.

"The more you can recreate these triggers, those cues, that creates someone’s distress, the more likely you are to treat those traumatic events," said Dr. Deborah Beidel, who is the program's executive director.

Patients are treated for PTSD using virtual reality images, sounds and smells coming from special goggles.

The trial program is now looking to cut down the length of treatment.

"What we found by doing the old treatment were people got 15 days of exposure therapy. What we found is that people were really pretty much done at about 10 days," Dr. Beidel said.

They are also using new VR technology developed at the university by undergraduate students.

With it, Dr. Beidel says they can personalize treatment for more than veterans and first responders but anyone who has experienced trauma, including the Surfside building collapse in South Florida.

"It is significantly less expensive. It will cost a therapist about $5,000, compared to the old system that cost $35,000," she said.

Trials for the program are going on now through September 2022.

For information on how to take part, call 407-823-3910.