Researchers say playing Tetris can prevent PTSD

Researchers say playing Tetris can prevent PTSD

Researchers say playing Tetris can prevent PTSD

In some cases, intrusive memories go hand in hand with the development of acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as with conditions such as depression and severe grief.

"Our findings suggest that if you engage in very visually demanding tasks soon after a trauma, this can help block or disrupt the memory being stored in an overly vivid way", Holmes said. Those who underwent Tetris therapy were significantly less likely to experience traumatic flashbacks than those who didn't.

People who played the video game soon after a vehicle accident were found to have 62 per cent fewer traumatic memories over the next week. They were split into two groups (balanced for age, gender and the severity of the risk they had personally faced in the accident) with one group asked to play Tetris for at least 10 minutes uninterrupted (and preferably 20 minutes) on a Nintendo DS at some point in the six hours after the accident.

Just one session of psychological therapy and time spent playing the classic game can prevent flashbacks, researchers say.

Emily Holmes, professor of psychology at Karolinska Institutet's Department of Clinical Neuroscience said: "It would make a huge difference to a great many people if we could create simple behavioural psychological interventions using computer games to prevent post-traumatic suffering and spare them these gruelling intrusive memories".

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The participants were randomly assigned to either the "Tetris" group or the control group.

Intrusive memories often spring to mind without warning after someone has experienced some form of trauma and they can bring back specific sights, sounds and emotions attached to the original incident. The students were asked to update the researchers throughout their day on their level of cravings for drugs, food and drink, exercise, and sex. Among them, fifteen students were also given an iPod to play short bursts of Tetris to see if it would have any effect.

Scientists from Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology, Australia have previously found that it can help in curbing cravings for addictive substances like alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine. "Playing "Tetris" seemed a bit unusual at the time, but looking back, it has been a help".

Tetris may help people suffering with PTSD.

This isn't the first study to document the healing properties of Tetris.

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