For Individuals who Witnessed the Attacks
D-Cycloserine Research Program and Virtual Reality Research Program
The virtual reality treatment of these symptoms combines traditional exposure therapy with computer graphic images that aid in the reenactment of that day. Traditional exposure therapy involves having the patient retell their experiences of that day, while offering other behavioral and cognitive coping techniques. The virtual reality treatment incorporates all of these aspects into its treatment, while utilizing a virtual world that helps engage the patient through their senses of sight and hearing.
During the virtual reality treatment, the individual is shown 11 different computer graphic scenes recreating the experience of September 11th. The scenes range from a plane flying past the first tower, to a reenactment of two planes hitting both towers and their collapses, accompanied by realistic sound effects. Each scene is viewed through the 3-D headset that responds to the patient's head movements. The patient progresses through the scenes in a gradual fashion, ensuring that they will not become overwhelmed. The therapist watches the scenes from a computer screen as the patient retells their personal experience.
In the DCS program, each participant is randomly assigned to a DCS or Placebo group. The participant takes a low dose of the medication or a placebo prior to the virtual reality sessions, which may help in the improvement of symptoms. The Virtual Reality Research Program contains the aforementioned elements without medication.
For Disaster Workers and Emergency Responders and their Families
Disaster workers who responded on 9/11 and witnessed some part of the attacks may be eligible to participate in the D-Cycloserine and Virtual Reality Treatment Programs described above. The therapy is conducted on an individual basis (one-on-one) and tailored to each patient's individuals needs. In addition, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) is offering an insurance-like benefit to help cover mental health and substance use treatment for NYC residents affected by 9/11. To find out more, call (877) 737-1164 (1-877-SEP11MH) or visit the DOHMH website at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/wtc. .