We usually think that gaming is bad for children and adolescents. Often we assume that it will make children aggressive and antisocial. In addition, they can also become addicted to it. However, a number of studies have shown that videogames can in fact help with the treatment of depression and anxiety complaints. Some researchers even believe that gaming sometimes can be as helpful as regular therapy.
Advantages of gaming
Playing is important for the development of our brains. This also applies to playing games digitally, also know as gaming. A video from the NRC shows that gaming can make you smarter and keep your brain healthy. Gaming is good for:
- Eye-hand coordination
- Random access memory
- Problem solving ability
- Spatial awareness
- Learning the English language
By playing games you can learn new skills quickly. For example, the US Army uses videogames to psychologically prepare soldiers for stressful situations.
Adolescents and gaming
In the last few years, more games have been developed by behavioural scientists with the aim of preventing psychological issues or as a therapy for psychological problems. Especially young people with depression or anxiety complaints can benefit from this. It is beneficial for them because games are able to do something that is sometimes difficult with normal therapy: to fascinate young people for a long time.
Games can be a good addition to regular therapy for young people. Gaming is part of the youth culture and in addition, it is easy to participate in games. There is also no stigma on gaming. And there are also no waiting lists that need to be taken into account.
Gaming and depression later in life
In addition American researchers have discovered a link between the use of mobile games and the treatment of depression later in life. This research was done at the University of Washington. According to the researchers, old people with depression benefit more from a game-oriented app that stimulates the human’s natural neurological ability to process multiple information flows simultaneously than regular conversation therapy. The reason is because such an app or game focuses on the cause of the depression rather than the symptoms associated with it.
The future games and depression treatment
Although several studies have concluded that gaming is a helpful tool to treat anxiety and depression, there still needs to be done a lot to further develop these games. After all, developing videogames is not cheap and more research is needed to find out what the psychological effects are and how big these effects are. Unfortunately, that is also expensive and takes time.