Playing Tetris May Help Treat PTSD and Flashbacks

#Science

Fri, Apr 19th, 2013 20:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to the Live Science website, research presented at the British Psychology Society Annual Conference has discovered that performing trivial tasks -- such as playing Tetris -- may "lessen flashbacks and other psychological symptoms following a traumatic event."

Researchers are now corroborating what some trauma sufferers have happened upon by chance: Focusing on a highly engaging visual-spatial task, such as playing video games, may significantly reduce the occurrence of flashbacks, the mental images concerning the trauma that intrude on the sufferer afterward.

Flashbacks are considered by some to be the central hub of symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers Lalitha Iyadurai and Ella James of Oxford University explained to LiveScience. They are invasive, unpredictable distress signals that can make everyday activities difficult. The jarring mental images also may trigger or exacerbate other symptoms associated with PTSD, including irritability, anger, poor concentration and sleep disorders.

Reducing the occurrence of flashbacks is therefore likely to relieve post-traumatic suffering while leaving the actual memories of the trauma in place, they said.

Iyadurai stressed the new research does not suggest a video game can instantly cure PTSD, but that it does suggests alternative treatments for the symptoms.

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