“Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether
the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism.”
Addiction can come in many forms. It not only encompasses drugs and alcohol but also addiction can include food as well as sex.
All forms of addiction floods the brain with the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. This dopamine effects the regions of the brain that control pleasure and self-control. Over time, the function and structure of the brain change and dopamine receptors are reduced, making drugs, food and other substances less enjoyable but still desperately desired.
Recently, the American Society of Addiction Medicine has made an important breakthrough on the effect all of these substances and behaviors have on the brain. By accident, researchers in Australia and the United Kingdom found that playing the game Tetris for at least three minutes can take up all the mental capability of the brain to the point that is has no more room for imagining other things. This results in having less cravings for food, drugs, sleep and sex
Apparently, Tetris can reduce cravings by simply forgetting about the cravings while engaged in the game. Tetris could potentially be used as a support tool to help people manage cravings throughout their daily lives.
This finding is the first demonstration that cognitive interference can be used outside the lab to reduce cravings for substances and activities. There’s more research to be done, but it’s an interesting beginning to help people with addiction.
Who would ever thought that such a simple thing as playing a game to kill time, could actually be used to kill our negative cravings.