Post-traumatic stress disorder: Flashbacks by computer game Tetris weaken

Post-traumatic stress disorder: Flashbacks by computer game Tetris weaken

Computer game Tetris can help with post-traumatic stress disorder

Researchers have found that Playing the computer game Tetris people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can help, involuntarily recurring visual memories of the traumatic experiences attenuate. In addition, the number of so-called Flashbacks is reduced as a result.

Post-traumatic stress disorder after traumatic events

If people have experienced Terrible, can occur alongside anxiety disorders, and depression, so-called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), even if the dramatic experiences are already weeks or months, also years back. Affected it comes to so-called Flashbacks. To tone this down, it can help to play the computer game Tetris. The have found out by researchers from Germany and Sweden.

There is a lack of therapy places

According to experts, a recurring image are spontaneous memories of the traumatic experiences one of the most serious symptoms of PTSD.

“The PTSD can be with the available therapies to treat,” explains Prof. Dr. Henrik Kessler of the clinic for Psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy at the LWL University clinic at the Ruhr-University of Bochum in a message.

“However, there are a lot more patients than no Therapy,” the senior doctor and trauma therapist.

Therefore, researchers are looking for methods outside of the conventional treatments that may relieve the symptoms.

Tetris Flashbacks can suppress

About ten years ago, Prof. Dr. Emily Holmes from the Karolinska Institute found out Institutet in Sweden and colleagues, that the computer game Tetris by horror movies out Flashbacks triggered in healthy individuals can suppress, when it is briefly played after the Viewing of the film.

A team of researchers led by Prof. Dr. Kessler and his Bochum colleagues Dr. Aram Kehyayan have now tested in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Emily Holmes, whether this effect can also help patients with PTSD, which is the cause of the traumatic memories is often years back.

Your in the “Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology” published the results, nourish hopes on a method, which can alleviate without the therapists, the Symptom of Flashbacks.

Special Intervention completed

According to the figures, 20 patients participated in the study with complex PTSD, which were to a regular therapy for six to eight weeks for inpatients in the clinic for Psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy.

In addition to the usual individual and group therapies, the study participants completed a special Intervention.

You wrote one of your stressful memories on a sheet, tore the paper, then – without speaking about the contents – and played for 25 minutes of Tetris on a Tablet.

The subjects gave several Flashbacks, for example, experiences of violence in different situations, the Occurrence of which you listed over the weeks in a diary.

Per Intervention, which took place from week to week, instead, focus on the patient-focused always only the content of a specific Flashbacks.

The frequency of the Flashbacks went back

As the researchers noted, only decreased the frequency of the Flashbacks, the content of which was focused in the week, specifically in the days and weeks after the Intervention.

For the not-yet-focused flash back the content, the number of Flashbacks has remained relatively constant. Over the weeks as to successively different flash back content has been focused, their frequency, time fell exactly in the sequence.

The number of Flashbacks decreased in total for the focused Situation by an average of 64 percent.

Flashbacks, the content of which was never in focus, declined by only eleven percent. The Intervention had a total of 16 of the 20 tested patients.

Suspected underlying mechanisms

The scientists assume that the success of the method is based on the following mechanism:

If the patient in detail, a picture of the incriminating memory, the probably areas for spatial-visual processing in the brain; similar areas could also be for Playing Tetris significantly.

Both tasks require similar and limited resources, it comes to interference.

When a Patient reminds the content of the Flashbacks aware of, the associated memory trace briefly unstable.

If in this period, an interference takes place, could be stored in the memory trace are attenuated, the researchers suggest.

Trauma therapy can not be replaced

“In our study, the Intervention was accompanied by a team member, but this has taken no active role, and the written traumatic memories does not read,” explains Kessler.

“Our hope is that we can derive a treatment that might perform people alone, when no Therapy is available,” says the expert.

“The Intervention may not, however, replace a complex trauma therapy, but only a Central Symptom, and Flashbacks, to alleviate.”

The researchers also point out that more scientific studies with control conditions and to a significantly larger number of patients are necessary to confirm the effectiveness of the method.

The Team of Kessler and Kehyayan performs these studies currently. In addition, they go further in the basis of studies, the exact mechanisms of the effect in healthy people. (ad)