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How Video Games Can Actually Be Good for Your Mental Health

Video games have developed a bad reputation and are often blamed for causing violence, aggression, and addictive behaviors, with the World Health Organization contemplating adding a "gaming disorder" to a list of mental health conditions, Business Insider reports. That said, some games do have benefits and can be used to improve attention and memory, as well as treat disorders.

According to research published by the American Psychological Association in 2013 (via Thrive Works) although negative effects of video gaming exist, and those people who struggle with these negative effects should be treated by a medical professional, there are also perceived benefits. These include helping children solve problems, and increasing learning ability, health, and social skills. And some games can also help those struggling with a mental health problem.

According to Greatist, gaming is becoming more common in treating those with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. The publication notes that the benefits include the ability to boost the mood, regardless of whether the game is complex or not, as it serves as a way to escape from everyday life and makes the player feel more relaxed. According to research conducted by East Carolina University, playing just 30 minutes a day of video games can help treat anxiety and depression at a level similar to prescription medication, Gamer Rant reports. As for the games that are best for this, these are reportedly puzzle games like Tetris or Angry Birds.

Some developers have realized the benefits of gaming, and have worked on creating games to target mental health problems, which Greatist notes include the online fantasy role-playing game, Sparx. This game was designed by a team of researchers from the University of Auckland and aims to help teenagers deal with depression and anxiety.

In addition to depression and anxiety, Gamer Rant also notes that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder could be helped by video games and that a study conducted on people who played Tetris revealed that they had fewer flashbacks than those who didn't.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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