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Tetris: A Cure for Addiction?

Drug rehabilitation treatment may have one more trick up its sleeve to treat the symptoms of addiction. It is the classic game of Tetris, where players arrange multiple polygons into straight lines. The research is new and the study groups are still small, but the logic behind it appears solid and valid.

How Will It Work?

Contrary to popular belief, video games have a good side too. In the case of Tetris, a 20-minute game can re-scramble the brain’s way of storing and recalling traumatic incidents as well as processing cravings and obsessions with drugs. That is the short explanation. There is a lot more work needed before anybody is going to prescribe a game of Tetris during a drug rehabilitation treatment programme. However, the initial findings are very promising, and scientists and counsellors alike are optimistic about this potential, harmless treatment option for addiction as well as PTSD. 

What Does It Mean for The Addict?

Drug rehabilitation treatment is an intensive process focussed on ‘reprogramming’ the body and the mind to function without the benefit or ‘help’ from drugs or other medication. Addictive narcotics cause the addict to form a psychological bond with his or her drug of choice, and it is that bond that needs to be broken and replaced with a healthier option.

It is difficult to let go of a substance that makes a person ‘feel good’ for a period. The feeling itself is addictive and that needs to be replaced with something that provides a similar sensation but is also a safer, healthier option. Playing 20 minutes of Tetris apparently seems to be the answer. Individuals who play the game seem to have fewer episodes of anxiety, depression, and other PTSD symptoms while addicts experience less cravings and seem to be able to gain control over their cravings and obsessions.

The good news is that drug rehabilitation treatment could prove to be more effective when Tetris is introduced as a management tool to avoid cravings for drugs as well as controlling drug-related thoughts. It will serve as a method of distracting the addict from the source of the cravings and send the brain into a different thought path when the addict starts obsessing about their drug of choice.

Drug Rehabilitation Treatment in The Spotlight?

The process of drug rehabilitation treatment is ongoing and will always need new tricks and tools to help an addict rid him/herself of the constant need for drugs and other addictions. Therapy already makes use of various ‘games’ to help the addict learn new life skills and coping mechanisms. There are also various medications such as methadone on the market to help break the physical addiction to drugs like heroin. Nevertheless, more is needed. Drug rehabilitation treatment continues for every minute of an addict’s life. It does not start when the addict goes to a drug rehab clinic or counselling or even to group meetings like AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous). When they walk out the door, they need practical ways of dealing with their daily challenges and difficult situations.

When an addict goes through a difficult moment or period, he/she cannot always rely on the help and support of friends or family. Counsellors have more than one client and are not always available immediately to help in a crisis. This is when the affected individual needs something solid and practical to do when feeling cravings or starting to have obsessive thoughts. Addiction is not only about drugs or narcotics; it is about a wide spectrum of substances and even behaviour. Alcohol is one of the most prevalent substances that promotes addiction. Many times, cravings will start out of sheer boredom. Give the addict something to occupy him/her physically and mentally, and the challenge is suddenly diminished. The idea is that a challenging game like Tetris will help the brain to refocus on something more constructive and therefore help to dampen the cravings and distract it from obsessive thoughts.

Playing a video game (such as Tetris) also teaches the addict new skills. Among others, it teaches the addict to feel a sense of accomplishment with each successfully completed level. It raises a ‘good’ feeling when the addict wins at the end of the game. It is also progressively more complex so as not to become boring or underestimate the intellect of the addict.

Using Tetris as a start, drug rehabilitation treatment programmes can look forward to a positive step in the right direction. It will take 20 minutes of intensive play for the addict to feel a sense of ‘release’ from a craving or obsessive thought. It could also be the bridge between boredom and choosing to do something constructive rather than reverting to addictive behaviour patterns.

We Will Help You Beat Addiction

UK Rehab has counsellors and drug rehab clinics across the country geared towards helping an addict from initial detoxification to the ongoing drug rehabilitation treatment programme. They are specifically trained to answer questions, do research on the latest treatment options and support their clients through good and bad times in order to achieve successful drug rehabilitation.

Source:  (Techdirt) Studies: New Source for Therapy for PTSD and Addiction Is Mind-Rotting Video Games

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