Skip to main content

Unconventional Approach for PTSD May Expand Treatment Options

In a pilot study, German and Swedish researchers discover playing a specific video game in association with a behavioral intervention program reduced the number of flashbacks associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A team of researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden used the computer game Trelis, a tile-matching puzzle video game, as an intervention among a group of 20 individuals hospitalized for PTSD. They found the number of flashbacks for the stressful events decreased.

Professor Henrik Kessler and Dr. Aram Kehyayan from the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy at the University Hospital Bochum, and Professor Emily Holmes, from the Karolinska Institutet, report their findings online in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Researchers explain that one of the most serious symptoms of PTSD is the involuntary recurrence of visual memories of traumatic experiences.

“PTSD can be treated well using the therapies available,” said Kessler. “However, there are many more patients than therapy places. That’s why the researchers are looking for methods outside conventional treatments that can relieve the symptoms.”

About 10 years ago, Holmes and her team found that the computer game Tetris can suppress flashbacks caused by horror films in healthy people when played shortly after watching the film.

In the current study, the research team tested whether this effect can also help patients with PTSD, for whom the cause of the stressful memories mostly dates back years.

The study involved 20 patients with complex PTSD who were hospitalized for six to eight weeks for regular therapy.

In addition to the usual individual and group therapies, they also underwent a special intervention. This consisted of writing one of their stressful memories down on a sheet of paper. Then they tore up the piece of paper — without talking about the content — and played Tetris on a tablet for 25 minutes.

Over the weeks, individuals recorded their different flashbacks —such as experiences of violence in different situations — in a diary. Then, the specific content of the flashback was targeted in a sequential manner.

In doing this, researchers discovered the intervention reduced flashbacks on the specific content addressed. However, the number of flashbacks remained relatively constant for the untargeted flashback contents.

As the study progressed, the various flashback contents were targeted one after the other. Overall, the number of flashbacks for the situations that were targeted fell by an average of 64 percent.

Flashbacks for which contents were never targeted decreased by only eleven percent. The intervention had an overall effect for 16 of the 20 patients tested.

The researchers posited that the success of the method is based on the following mechanism: When patients visualize the stressful memory in detail, the areas for visuospatial processing in the brain are activated.

These same areas are also important for playing Tetris. Both tasks therefore require comparable and limited resources, resulting in interference.

Whenever a patient consciously remembers the content of a flashback, the associated memory trace becomes temporarily unstable. If interference occurs during this time, the memory trace could be weakened when it is stored again, resulting in fewer flashbacks, the scientists suspect.

“In our study, the intervention was supervised by a team member, but he did not play an active role and did not read the written traumatic memories,” explains Kessler.

“Our hope is that we will be able to derive a treatment that people could perform on their own to help them cope, even if there are no places available for therapy. However, the intervention cannot replace complex trauma therapy, but can only alleviate a central symptom, flashbacks.”

Source: Ruhr-University Bochum



from Psych Central News http://bit.ly/2RfhnAi
via IFTTT

Become a patron of The Carlisle Wellness Network. Show everyone that you think this service is worth at least a buck. Go to; https://www.patreon.com/carlislewellness and pledge one dollar per month and help improve the resources it takes to gather the articles you see here as well as create fresh content including interviews an podcasts. We only need one dollar per month from all of our patrons to give The Carlisle Wellness Network a bright furture in the health and wellness social media ecosystem.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Working Remotely Is Not Necessarily Stress-Free

Many believe that working from home or remotely can foster freedom and stress-free job satisfaction, and that everyone wants  more work autonomy. A new study from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, says “Not so fast.” In the study, researchers examined the impact of remote work on employee well-being. Their findings suggest that a variety of factors can undermine or accent the employee benefits of working off-site. Accordingly, researchers developed new strategies to help managers provide remote-work opportunities that are valuable to the employee and the company. “Any organization, regardless of the extent to which people work remotely, needs to consider well-being of their employees as they implement more flexible working practices,” the researchers wrote. The study appears in the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology . In the review, a total of 403 working adults were surveyed for the two studies that made up the research, said lead author Sara Perry, Ph.D. Re

Today’s Popular Music is More Angry, Sad and Less Joyful

Today’s popular music is noticeably different from the popular songs of the 1960s and 1970s. Now a new study reveals that it’s not just the music itself that is different; today’s music consumers seem to prefer songs that express darker emotions in both lyric and tone. The findings, published in the Journal of Popular Music Studies , show that the expression of anger and sadness in popular music has increased gradually over time, while the expression of joy has declined. Using quantitative analytics, researchers from Lawrence Technological University in Michigan studied changes in popular music lyrics throughout the last seven decades, from the 1950s to 2016. Data scientists Kathleen Napier and Dr. Lior Shamir analyzed the lyrics of more than 6,000 songs found on the Billboard Hot 100, a list of the most popular songs of each year. In the past, songs were ranked primarily by record sales, radio broadcasting, and jukebox plays, but in more recent years, popularity is based on several

I Pretend that Fictional Characters Are Real & Talk to Myself as Them

I’ve always loved to play pretend. But now that I’m a teenager, instead of outgrowing it, it’s gotten worse. Now I’ve gotten to the point where it’s an obsession, and I spend more time with my imaginary friends then with real people. I pretend that my favorite characters from movies and TV shows are real, and I talk to myself, both as myself and the character. I have long discussions with myself. I also pretend that they are with me everywhere I go–to the supermarket, to my cousin’s house. I pretend that they’re with me, no matter what I do. Lately, I’ve also been doing something that’s hard to explain: I pretend to be two people (usually myself and my mother, or a cousin, or a made-up person) and have a pretend to have a conversation with them. I pretend that the fiction character is watching me and my mother/cousin/other. Usually, those scenarios involve either a verbal fight, or joking. I’m really concerned because I know this is abnormal and I’m not living a normal life. I’m worri