Smartphone App Used in Treating Armed Forces with PTSD

Technology is changing the face of medicine as we know it. The trend toward everything wireless is inspiring all sorts of Smartphone apps and tablet programs aimed at meeting the new communication needs of today’s tech-savvy consumer. The field of behavioral health is following suit.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has partnered with the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2) and others to use technology to improve post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment for members of the armed forces.

Out of this collaboration, the cell phone app, PE Coach, was born. The title comes from prolonged exposure, a popular treatment for those suffering from PTSD. The treatment involves recalling memories of traumatic situations in order to work through them.

Treatment sessions are taped and the PTSD patient must review the audio recordings daily. Outside of treatment, patients are also forced to confront real-life fears in a safe environment. The patient journals each experience and assign a level of distress.

Through controlled, repeated exposure to the fear driving PTSD, the goal is that patients will learn to work through their emotions and have less anxiety.

The corresponding cell phone app, PC Coach, is meant to be an aid for the real world scenarios that trigger PTSD.

The app allows for the therapy session to be recorded directly on the patient’s Smartphone, reducing time and resources previously consumed by burning CDs and purchasing equipment like software, headsets, etc.

Much of the treatment material is delivered via handouts but the app allows information to be viewed in video format as well.

One advantage of the app is that it permits therapists to go over homework assignments with the patient. Another advantage is that the program helps identify barriers to treatment and populates potential solutions to ongoing problems.

Essentially, the program aids PTSD sufferers in their recovery and makes it easier for treatment providers to hold them accountable.