Many times in life people go through terrible events that can cause a lot of stress on them. Because of this, some people develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); a condition that sometimes follows extremely stressful life events. Its symptoms include efforts to avoid reminders of the trauma, feeling detached or estranged from others, and increase in arousal. However, the symptom most widely known for PTSD is flashbacks. Flashbacks are vivid memories, feelings, and images of the traumatic experience. Flashbacks can lead to many more symptoms of PTSD, but recent research has found that there may be a way to help prevent them.
Tetris, a popular computer game, may help prevent flashbacks of disturbing events. In one study done, students watched a disturbing 12-minute film of horrible deaths and injuries, and then kept a diary to record any flashbacks they experienced. Students who played Tetris for 10 minutes, a half hour after the film, reported far fewer flashbacks compared with students who didn't. Playing Tetris may distract participants from dwelling on thoughts about upsetting scenes, and interfere with the formation of disturbing sensory impressions associated with the memories of an event. However, researchers still need to determine whether playing Tetris or other video games prevents flashbacks or PTSD among people who experience Trauma.