This Classic Video Game Is Helping to Prevent PTSD

30 March, 2017, 01:57 | Author: Joy Garcia
  • This Classic Video Game Is Helping to Prevent PTSD

People who suffer intrusive memories in the early days after a trauma are more likely to develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.

Holmes said that if more extensive studies prove equally successful, Tetris could end up being a viable therapy in other hospitals.

Professor Emily Holmes, an expert in psychology at the University of Karolinska, told the BBC she has spent years looking into the game's possible medical applications. The subjects who played Tetris reported significantly fewer flashbacks of the film than those who did not.

Intrusive memories are one of the main symptoms of PTSD, an anxiety disorder developed by one in four people who have been in motor accidents.

The academics behind the study said their findings are the beginnings of a case for rolling out video games in hospital waiting rooms on a larger scale - as a "therapeutic vaccine" to mental trauma before it fully forms.

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Researchers found those who played "Tetris" had fewer intrusive memories of the trauma over the week immediately following the accident.

This isn't the first study to document the healing properties of Tetris. "Tetris also requires imagination and vision". This was done to reactivate the memory and make it "malleable" before it was stored, the researchers said. Within six hours of the viewing period, subjects were asked to either play Tetris, answer trivia, or do nothing at all.

People in the "Tetris" group experienced nine flashbacks, on average, during the week, compared to 23 flashbacks on average in the control group, the study found. Researchers said they believed similar effects would result from games such as Candy Crush.

Scientists from Queensland University of Technology and Plymouth University, Australia, say playing Tetris can help people curb cravings for things like alcohol, coffee and cigarettes. "Playing "Tetris" seemed a bit odd at the time, but looking back, it has been a help". According to the authors, one man said, "I think that playing "Tetris" helped focus my mind and bring some "normality" back to my head".

Holmes has just published a study which found that tapping into a patient's visual memory is a good method of starting to treat the psychological impact of traumatic events and that Tetris is a good way to do this.

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