Playing Tetris may treat PTSD, flashbacks

By LiveScience Contributor

updated 4/25/2012 3:36:51 PM ET 2012-04-25T19:36:51

Image: TetrisLONDON — A seemingly trivial task — playing a particular video game — may lessen flashbacks and other psychological symptoms following a traumatic event, according to research presented here at the British Psychology Society Annual Conference.

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. [ Top 10 Spooky Sleep Disorders ] Click here to read more.