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Can playing video games help treat depression?



In recent years, there has been a push to determine if video games could help those suffering from mild depression.

Researchers at UC Davis decided to step aside from theory and put things into action in a new study published in Computers in Human Behavior.

According to Subuhi Khan and Jorge Pena, lead researchers of the study, video games can be perceived as “a more viable and less attrition-ridden treatment option,” proposing that it may effectively treat depression.

During the study, researchers also noticed that the 160 participants, aged 21, played video games more often, especially when they received messaged reminders.

Whether if biological or environmental, the gaming exhibited by participants tackled the depression head-on, all while inspiring them to play more games; each game, six in total, lasted about three minutes.

Participants reported having some control over their depression when interacting with the neurophysiological training games.

Brain-training games have long been associated with other effective treatments for depression, in which these types of games can spark cognitive changes.

Moreover, in participants whose depression was correlated with external or environmental influences, they reported increased urge for gaming.

Researchers hope to use this data to further their knowledge for future effective depressive-related treatments.

Jose Florez is the founder of Mental Daily, a psychology blog and news aggregator. His previous work has appeared in Psychology Today, HuffPost, Glamour, Lifehack, and others.