commercial new generation therapy how online games help treat mental illness

New generation therapy: how online games help treat mental illness

Despite the fact that video games have long been a part of world culture, they are still surrounded by a lot of stereotypes – in particular, that games provoke violence or at least distract from more important things. The truth is that video games are being actively researched by scientists around the world, and the results are quite unambiguous: games contribute to versatile development and have a positive effect on the psyche.

According to an international study, more than 10% of the population suffers from mental disorders. The most common among them are anxiety and depression. In reality, the numbers can be much larger. Not all people seek help, and many simply do not understand what is happening to them: the topic of mental health is still largely taboo.

At the same time, the problem of mental disorders itself was sharply actualized against the background of the pandemic. In search of solace in quarantine conditions, a huge number of people turned their eyes to online games like online solitaire free no download, and video games. Scientists approve of this choice, believing that games really have a positive effect on gamers in several aspects at once.

  • Firstly, almost every part of the brain works during the game in order to quickly develop a strategy and analyze the situation. So games pump up the skill of critical thinking. In addition, gamers have improved visual and spatial perception. There is also a theory that gamers have well-developed areas of the brain that are responsible for attention.
  • Secondly, games are closely related to motivation and achievement of goals. You complete quests and tasks, getting bonuses and prize points for it — this is very likely to please you. At the same time, a complex system of incentives is involved. You may be motivated by a personal desire to do something specific, or the opportunity to receive a reward for successfully completing the task.
  • Third, online multiplayer games improve socialization, encourage collaboration, and reduce feelings of loneliness.

Also, online games help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to adapt to the real environment. So far, it is difficult to prove that the skills acquired in the game manifest themselves in real life due to the lack of suitable tools for analysis. But we can say for sure that it is easier for children to communicate in the virtual world. After all, the game world is safer.

There are also a number of specialized “healing games”. They were created based on traditional methods of therapy. For example, role-playing games for the treatment of depression. The study, which was conducted by scientists, involved 187 adolescents with moderate depression. The children were divided into two groups: one played an online game, and the other received classical therapy with a psychologist. As a result of the first part of the experiment, improvements were recorded in 44% of the subjects in the first group and 26% in the second.

Another similar study was conducted with the help of another game. It was created for people with increased anxiety. In it, the player explores a scary mansion, while simultaneously studying ways to control anxiety and fear. Six weekly sessions were as effective as eight sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy.

There is also evidence that conventional commercial games can also alleviate diseases. The researchers came to a more global conclusion: games (very different — from to horrors) help people suffering from anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In addition, researchers report that so-called casual video games, which are often played to take time on the way to work or school (like Angry Birds), can reduce depressive symptoms and stress. That is, even short 30-minute gaming sessions are enough for a positive effect.

The gaming industry is relatively young and obviously has no purpose to replace medicine. However, it can already be concluded that video games should be considered as a potential alternative to traditional therapeutic methods.

News Contributors

Have a story idea or a news tip? Email editor Chris Graham at [email protected] Subscribe to AFP podcasts on Apple PodcastsSpotifyPandora and YouTube.