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Could Playing Tetris Help Treat Trauma?

Post-traumatic stress is one of the most damaging and life-changing effects of any serious accident. Trauma can make it difficult for survivors to sleep, return to work, or lead normal lives. Many of our clients have suffered from nightmares and debilitating anxiety due to intrusive memories of their accidents, which is the reason many of them were unable to make a living or do what they love. How to treat trauma is one of the most important research questions of the last 100 years.

As it turns out, Tetris might be the key.

In 2017, Swedish and UK researchers did a small study on car accident victims to test a new method for addressing trauma. The study involved 71 patients who had been admitted to the ER within 6 hours of a car crash. Patients were asked to recall their trauma and note the worst memories that came to mind; then, they were divided into two groups: group 1 played Tetris for 20 minutes, and group 2 filled out hospital paperwork (they were the control group).

The results of the study revealed that the Tetris players had 62% fewer intrusive memories within a week of their crash. Typically, most people aren't able to get a diagnosis of PTSD until a month after the incident, so an easy and affordable treatment that makes this much of a difference could be game-changing for trauma treatment.

Why Tetris?

While researchers do more tests, it's not specifically Tetris that's the key treatment here. Rather, the solution might be any mentally engaging visual activity that allows an individual to distract themselves while they process negative memories. Emily Holmes of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden believes that activities like playing Tetris can "interfere" with memory formation, keeping a bad memory from imprinting itself onto the brain's emotional centers.

In other words, Tetris might help people's worst memories do what most memories do: fade away.

Researchers in the field will remain cautiously optimistic about these results until researchers conduct broader studies. Still, the initial results from the 2017 study show that there may be a new way forward in the field of trauma treatment. Our attorneys aren't experts in the field of trauma treatment, but we have worked with countless people who've suffered through the worst disasters in American history.

Any research to help accident survivors diminish their worst memories has our support.

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