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Iraq War vet uses virtual reality to treat his PTSD on Dark Net

An Iraq War vet simulates combat to treat his PTSD on Showtime's new Dark Net season
An Iraq War vet simulates combat to treat his PTSD on Showtime’s new Dark Net season

Tonight’s season 2 premiere of the series Dark Net on Showtime examines how U.S. military veterans can use new virtual reality technology to treat the post-traumatic stress disorder they sustained from fighting in Iraq and elsewhere overseas.

The episode, called My Mind, explores how VR specialists can guide veterans through their worst nightmares and use the 360-degree technology as a therapeutic means in which they can deal with the trauma.

“One of the cardinal symptoms of PTSD is avoidance,” a VR specialist says in footage from the episode. “They avoid anything that reminds them of their PTSD trauma.”

To that end, techies create simulations that are generic to Iraq and Afghanistan environments and place the vets inside them with VR headsets.

The vets are returned virtually to the scenes of the incidents — but in a safe place, where they can confront them.

“We start with something light to get acclimated to the environment, and then all of a sudden…our mind is triggered to say, ‘it’s war time.’ It feels like you’re there in that moment,” the VR expert says.

In the trailer, one vet’s VR experience is so visceral that he gets sick to his stomach reliving a time when he witnessed vehicles and bodies strewn across a war zone.

Last year’s season of Dark Net featured eight episodes. One revolved around individuals who “hack” their own bodies, raising the question of when we start being human and start becoming tech devices.

Other episodes focused on taking relationships to the next level by using cutting-edge technology, the dark side of social media in which people get lured into cults, and 3D printing for guns.

The Season 2 premiere also looks at the world’s first AI sex robot, called Harmony, and a woman who regularly uploads her mind to computers.

Dark Net airs Thursdays at 10/8c on Showtime.

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