Playing Tetris can reduce onset of PTSD after trauma

Playing Tetris can reduce onset of PTSD after trauma

The study is one of the first to test the hypothesis that early intervention can prevent evolution of intrusive memories into PTSD.

This isn't the only kind of therapy Tetris has been found to be useful in, either. The proof-of-concept of the role, which Tetris could play within psychological interventions after trauma, is described in Springer Nature's journal Molecular Psychiatry, in a study jointly led by Lalitha Iyadurai of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom with Emily Holmes of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.

Non-critically injured vehicle crash victims recovering in a United Kingdom hospital were asked to play Tetris on a Nintendo DS for 20 minutes while they waited for formal treatment. While most people do not develop PTSD after trauma, one of the core clinical symptoms in those who do involves recurrent and intrusive memories of the trauma (colloquially referred to as "flashbacks").

"So we think it needs to be visual", said Holmes, who has spent many years studying the game's medical merits.

Most of the participants said they found the "Tetris" task easy, helpful and minimally distressing, the researchers said.

People who played a popular computer game within hours of witnessing a traumatic event had significantly fewer intrusive memories that often precede post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), CNN reported. The researchers therefore believe that introducing science-driven psychological treatment methods such as behavioural protocols including Tetris that could be delivered by staff during this waiting period could be a straightforward way by which to reduce the later impact of patients' psychological trauma.




In the study, those who underwent Tetris therapy were far less likely to experience terrifying flashbacks of their crashes than those who did not receive the intervention.

Some of the participants directly credited the game with helping them during the week after their accident. "Playing a visually interesting game like Tetris occupies the mental processes that support that imagery; it is hard to imagine something vividly and play Tetris at the same time", researcher Prof.

Tetris may help people suffering with PTSD.

The others were given a written activity to complete.

The study was published Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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