- Research shows that video games play a positive role in mental health
- Experts are considering ways in which video games can be used in therapy
Research shows that many people have turned to games in recent years to deal with isolation, grief, and negative emotions. Video games help gamers to relax, connect with people, and feel competent and fulfilled. They also boost skills related to creativity and problem-solving.
Video Games Bring Mental Health Benefits
A study by the Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization in the UK, recently confirmed that playing video games help with mental health. For video game players with mental illnesses, these games help counteract self-defeating narratives that are associated with health conditions like depression, anxiety, etc.
Kelli Dunlap, a clinical psychologist from Maryland, explains, “[These] games are exceptionally good at helping us feel like our decisions matter, and that we can have power over the world around us, [giving us] a sense of accomplishment.”
Experts are yet to unlink video gaming from “overuse injuries”. Players with extreme gaming habits often display volatile and frustrating behavior, lack of control, and mood swings. They also suffer from health problems like eye strain, “Gamer’s thumb”, and obesity. This impacts their other priorities in life, like self-care, relationships, etc.
Psychologists suggest that individual players can only reap the mental health benefits associated with playing video games if they develop healthy and balanced gaming habits.
The Road To Therapy
Experts have suggested that video game creators can tone down the designs in video games that psychologically force players to be aggressive and addicted to them. They can also devise ways in which video games can be incorporated in therapeutic interventions for mental health support.
In fact, emerging research shows that commercial and entertainment video games can make mental health services more affordable, accessible, and approachable. While it can’t replace traditional therapy, the Mental Health Foundation notes that “[the video game] industry has enormous potential to act as a source for good in helping to promote mental wellbeing!”
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