By Anne Becker, published on July 1, 2003 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016
You can add earthquakes to the list of exposure therapies now
available. Earthquake survivors suffering from post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) can successfully combat their anxiety with an earthquake
simulator, according to a study in the American Journal of
Researchers studied women suffering from PTSD caused by the 1999
earthquake in Turkey, which measured a horrific 7.4 on the Richter scale
and killed thousands. Women were more than three times as likely as men
to develop PTSD after the Turkish quake, researchers found. Without
treatment, only 10 percent of PTSD sufferers recovered from their fear,
but after just one hour in the simulator, stressful symptoms improved 80
to 90 percent, according to Metin Basoglu, M.D., Ph.D., who heads the
trauma studies department at the University of London.
The women could control the machine-simulated tremors, which helped
to decondition the fear response.