TAMPA — It's a tough reality for some veterans-- and others who have lived through something traumatic.
But there could be a way to distract from the horrible memories that lead to Post Traumatic Stress. The secret is this-- tetris.
A video game from the 80s. It's not as popular as it used to be.
100News reporter Mark Rivera shows you how these brightly colored bricks could help with PTSD.
There are a lot of strategies to deal with PTSD. Army veteran Will Blanchard adopts puppies.
"Over the last 14 months doing this, it's helped a lot with my PTSD and trauma from the military. I was over in the Army and I was over in Iraq from November 06 to January 08. I lost a lot of buddies,” he said.
Veteran Joseph Kramer uses deep breathing.
“Hang in there,” he said.
But Tetris might be the answer to fewer intrusive, negative memories, if played soon after a traumatic event.
It's all from a study published in Molecular Psychology.
Tetris could help people who've been to war or those who've even been in a bad car accident.
Dr. Dan Agliata was an Air Force psychologist before he started his own practice, mainly focused on helping vets.
“I would say it has a lot to do with distraction. A lot of the PTSD treatment utilizes distraction. You try to keep somebody from honing in on some event and perceiving an event as maybe recurring over and over again. And i think that Tetris really takes a lot of mental power. you're constantly manipulating shapes, twisting things and turning things and staying involved,” Dr. Agliata said.
Researchers said if you're playing Tetris after a traumatic event, your memories of the trauma will have a tougher time forming.
But if you're stuck without the game, there are other options. One - take deep breaths like Joseph does.
“One of the key symptoms of a panic attack is when somebody changes their breathing pattern. You start doing some shallow breathing you don't get enough air you realize oh my gosh my hearts racing. Know that nobody's died of panic attacks. They're very uncomfortable, but people don't die from panic attacks so taking a little time out kind of pulling over if you're on the road,” Agliata said.\
And two: Take a mental time-out.
“Think about what is my reaction compared to the situation that's going on. Those things should match. If they don't match then maybe there's a little bit of an imbalance and you can really work cognitively to make those things match a little better,” Agliata said.
But know... Tetris... is free in your app store.
An estimated 7.8 percent of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives. That's nearly 25 million of your friends and neighbors.
© 2018 WTSP-TV