Games help soldiers combat nightmares

BrunoNoMedals

LE
Kit Reviewer
#1
Kotaku, the Gamer’s Guide


Now I'm a gamer, but I'm not a soldier, so I really couldn't comment. I do know that gaming has been used in the past to study and treat PTSD, allowing people to recreate stressful, memorable experiences in a controlled environment. If gaming does allow you more control over your dreams, as the research mentioned here claims, then maybe it could go further. Who knows?
 
#2
I found when I was younger and I played a lot, a I mean a lot, of games that I would end up dreaming about them too. Could the theory be perhaps then that if they start dreaming about the games it all gets muddled up with the night terrors thus diluting them?
 
#3
Well on my last decompression in Cyprus, the PS3's were constantly full of squaddies blowing the shit out of bad guys! Funny way to decompress after blowing the shit out of bad guys, but it seems to work! Well, that and a few beers and a punch up followed by a day on the beach anyway...
 
#8
Desensitising blokes to violence and its effects is a large part of training. It's the reason figure 11's have the hun picture, the reason we use realistic casualties on exercise and one of the main reasons we use computer simulations. I wonder if the idea is along the same lines.
 
#9
Worth saying that the use of gaming in the US to treat PTSD was only ever a study. Nothing more has been heard about it (to my knowledge anyway), although outcome data will be hard to come by as yet as it was only fairly recent.
 
#10
Saw this in New Scientist last week. Must say when I read the article I was very sceptical.I would think that " Violent Games desensitise gamers towards violence" would have been a more appropriate headline. Needs more research, but the Games companies aren't going to fund it !
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Saw this in New Scientist last week. Must say when I read the article I was very sceptical.I would think that " Violent Games desensitise gamers towards violence" would have been a more appropriate headline. Needs more research, but the Games companies aren't going to fund it !
I bet that was written by some f@cking academic cnut who has never been in a fight in his sad and meaningless life, FFS nothing on this f@cking planet can prepare you for when the shit hits, whether it be a car crash or a contact, I wont be effected by my car crash because I play GTA LOL
 
#12
Agreed jim24. Like the childrens game "operation" where the patients nose buzzes red if you touch the side with the forceps prepares you to be a surgeon... Not !

Reasearch indicates 100% of people die. Most of us wear clothes. So clothes cause death ?
Research is not what it used to be.
 
#14
I'm not remotely convinced this is a desensitization issue, and no-one's saying gaming prepares you for the horrors of war (although I'll argue the toss with anyone over the applicability of games in training, as it's what I do for a living and have received no end of positive feedback from people who've used it properly). This appears to be something new - certainly I've not heard it before - implying that gamers have more control over their dreams and thus could potentially nullify the effects of prior bad experiences coming back to haunt them. If this claim is true then, as the article says, there could be some benefit in the treatment of PTSD.

Jim, I have the utmost respect for what you've done and what you've been through, but you do appear to have an inability to read content presented to you before you go off on a rant. Your very first comment here is a perfect case - Fally's post doesn't disagree with the article or its proposition at all, it simply comments on the previous observation about squaddies in decompression. Do you have a problem with people trying to find new ways of treating sick or depressed soldiers? Are you an expert in psychology?
 

jim24

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
This not the first post about gaming and PTSD, and from personal experience I can see very little connection between gaming and reality, I have read quit a lot of information on this subject, all by academics and not, people who have experienced combat or PTSD victims, now I have made my feeling clear about all the so called experts on this subject but until someone who" walked in my shoes" can come up with some hard evidence, and not scientific conjecture, I'll call bollux. As RAMC states anyone can come up with "Evidence" but in the last thirty years I have just about heard every snakedoctor on the planets bullshit cure ,treatment for PTSD, FFS it's not that long ago that I was told that "British soldiers don't get PTSD it's an American thing" by a cnut that held a degree in Psychology.
 
#16
I'm not remotely convinced this is a desensitization issue, and no-one's saying gaming prepares you for the horrors of war (although I'll argue the toss with anyone over the applicability of games in training, as it's what I do for a living and have received no end of positive feedback from people who've used it properly). This appears to be something new - certainly I've not heard it before - implying that gamers have more control over their dreams and thus could potentially nullify the effects of prior bad experiences coming back to haunt them. If this claim is true then, as the article says, there could be some benefit in the treatment of PTSD.
I'll repeat this. The study was VERY small (ie 12 subjects if I remember correctly) and involved recreating the environment of the incident using the level design features of one of the big shot em ups, can't remember which one. The results won't be valid in any real sense as the sample size is so small.

Currently, unless the research results have appeared and I've missed them, there is NO evidence that says gaming can help PTSD. sufferers.
 
#17
12 people? Are you talking about the same research as me? I accept that the "it could help PTSD" claim is just a guess at this stage, but the article I'm looking at suggests a broader sample than twelve:

LINK

Gackenbach further explored the relationship between lucid dreams and video games in a series of two studies published in 2006. The first surveyed a group of hardcore gamers and a group of non-gamers, with results suggesting that frequent gamers were more likely to have lucid dreams than non-gamers. Furthermore, the dreaming gamers evidenced dream control, the power to actively influence their dream worlds.
The power to control dreams!
The second study, conducted to narrow down information from the first, showed that while gamers did have control over their dream worlds, the control was limited to their dream selves, as if controlling a video game character.
They also tend to flip between first and third-person view.
If gamers could control dreams, what about nightmares?
Gackenbach explored that question with a new study in 2008. Using a group of 35 males and 63 females, she studied threat levels gleaned from after-dream reports. The results indicated that not only gamers experienced lower threat levels in their dreams, they also experienced reverse threat simulation, where the dreamer turns the tide of the nightmare, becoming an even bigger threat.
"What happens with gamers is that something inexplicable happens," Gackenbach explained. "They don't run away, they turn and fight back. They're more aggressive than the norms."
 
#18
The study you're talking about is nothing to do with PTSD, it's about nightmares and the two don't have a link in that sense. The PTSD study was done on a group of US service personnel in 2008/9 if my memory serves correctly.
 
#19
One thing that Games players and PTSD sufferers seem to have in common is "hyperalertness" which can lead to insomnia and nightmares in both. It may be that regular Games players gradually progressively desensitise themselves due to repeated exposure in gameplay.

An area well worth further investigation for the treatment of PTSD.

Another report I read recently (New Scientist) suggested that early recounting of the bad experiences (within 12 hours if I recall correctly) seems to help prevent PTSD. I have no experience of being under fire, but talking with friends especially amonst other Dr's certainly helps get you to get through early training and bad experiences.
So talk to your mates and carry on making "sick" squaddie jokes, medical humour has a lot in common.
 
#20
The idea of the US experiment is of exposure therapy, which does de-sensitize to a certain extent but without the more negative connotations of the word. The New Scientist stuff is already well known and used extensively (TRiM follows this basic model), but this needs to be talking with one's mates in an (ideally) informal setting. It doesn't mean psychiatric nurses or formal Critical Incident Stress De-briefing, which has been shown to be vary damaging.
 

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