Video Games has the power to relieve depression
Researchers have found promising results for treating depression with a video game interface that targets underlying cognitive issues associated with depression rather than just managing the symptoms.
According to Dr. Patricia Areán, a UW Medicine researcher in psychiatry and behavioral sciences, the findings are both intriguing and promising. The first study enrolled older adults diagnosed with late-life depression into a treatment trial where they were randomized to receive either a mobile, tablet-based treatment technology developed by Akili Interactive Labs called Project: EVO or an in-person therapy technique known as problem-solving therapy (PST).
The Project: EVO runs on phones and tablets and is designed to improve focus and attention at a basic neurological level. The results showed that the group using Project: EVO demonstrated specific cognitive benefits (such as attention) compared to the behavioral therapy, and saw similar improvements in mood and self-reported function. The studies were funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
Another research on Video Games effects on Depression
Researchers at the University of California Davis are using video games and brain training applications to treat depression. The study found that not only can video games potentially treat depression, but when participants are reminded to play games, they are more likely to play more often and increase time playing, which may help patients gain further benefit from the treatment, though the researchers did not measure that.
The study used six, three-minute specifically designed video games played by 160 student participants with an average age of 21. The study showed in most cases playing a game helped participants feel they had some control over their depression. The games were an adaptation of neurophysiological training tasks shown to improve cognitive control in people with depression.
The messages used to remind participants to play the video games targeted depression as either internal from a chemical imbalance or hereditary, or external from environmental and lifestyle factors. The reminder messages had differences in approach but all concluded with inspirational notes to encourage participants to play the game.