Playing Tetris may have therapeutic benefits

Image      Playing Tetris could 'make a huge difference' to trauma victims say experts

Image Playing Tetris could 'make a huge difference' to trauma victims say experts

They said the "proof-of-concept" study suggested an "easy, helpful and minimally distressing" therapy to help patients overcome trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Researchers from Oxford University and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden studied a group of 71 patients who had been admitted to the emergency room of an Oxford hospital after experiencing a vehicle accident.

People who experience such flashbacks in the days following a traumatic event are at higher risk of developing long-lasting PTSD, the researchers said.

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. Prof. Emily Holmes, an expert in psychology at the University of Karolinska, has spent many years exploring the game's medical merits.

Results showed that those who had played Tetris had fewer intrusive memories of the trauma in total over the week immediately following the accident than the controls.

"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". The students were asked to update the researchers throughout their day on their level of cravings for drugs, food and drink, exercise, and sex.

County ranked state's 5th healthiest
Accidental drug overdoses are increasing at a much more significant rate than other causes of premature death, the authors said. The report showed, nationwide, premature death rates were on the rise, owing to an increase in deaths among those ages 15-44.

Her team at the University of Oxford gave Tetris therapy to 71 volunteer patients at John Radcliff Hospital suffering from shock after traffic accidents. Within six hours of the accident, half recalled the trauma briefly before playing Tetris while the other half performed a different task.

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. Like Professor Holmes, the researchers who conducted this study believed that the visually arresting and distracting nature of Tetris makes it the flawless distraction. All you have to do, according to a new study, is play Tetris after the accident.

As BBC points out, Tetris has also proven useful in helping people with unwanted cravings and even lazy eye.

As one participant put it when she reflected on whether the intervention including playing Tetris helped her at all: "It certainly took my mind off it at a time when I probably would have sat brooding and feeling very sorry for myself".

The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

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