For decades now, scientists have been trying to figure out exactly what video games do to you. In the beginning, most of them had very negative stances. However, nowadays, you can see multiple studies that show that games can be right for you.
The truth, as always, lies somewhere in between. Video games can have both harmful, and beneficial effects on your mental health. It all depends on the type of games you enjoy playing, and the amount of time you spend doing so. Of course, that isn’t nearly good enough of an answer. So, let’s go through both the good and the bad that playing video games can cause.
Contrary to most popular beliefs, video games actually can be really good for you. They can improve your coordination, memory, social skills, and they can even help you fix a lazy eye. But, we are here to discuss the benefits they have on your mental health.
And the benefits are very noticeable. In fact, new studies show that gaming can actually be used as a treatment for some mental health conditions. Namely, gaming can help you fight anxiety and depression, two of the most widespread mental illnesses in the world.
A study from the East Carolina University shows that spending half an hour of every day playing video games, can actually treat your depression and anxiety. And the benefits are not something to disregard. In fact, the level of help video games offer actually rivals that of actual medication your doctor would prescribe.
And, if you really want to achieve optimal results, you should reach for some of the favorite puzzle games. Of course, if you find games like Tetris to be boring, you can play puzzle games that are a bit more interesting. For example, you can play a game like Angry Birds, for the same beneficial effect.
Playing video games can also help treat another common issue – the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. One study shows that merely playing Tetris for a while each day can help you experience fewer flashbacks.
Another thing these gaming benefits have in common is the fact that they have long-lasting effects. So the benefits were not only there for a couple of days, but rather, for months later. So, it actually seems like video games have the potential to beat out prescription medication.
The studies go as far as to indicate that people older than 65 who gamble tend to be healthier than those who don’t. And, thankfully, you no longer have to travel to Las Vegas to gamble. You can just choose one of the casinos on the net and play from your home. For example, you could visit https://www.32red.com/, which is one of the best online casinos at the moment, and enjoy a bit of gambling from the comfort of your living room.
Unfortunately, video games are not quite perfect when it comes to mental health. Spending too much time playing video games can have a negative effect on you. Namely, the World Health Organization (WHO) actually has an online page dedicated to the gaming disorder.
The WHO describes the gaming disorder as an impairment of control over gaming, increase of the priority players give to gaming over any other activities and allowing the gaming to take over other interests; this pattern continues even if negative consequences start showing.
Simply put, gaming can become detrimental if you start prioritizing it instead of your real-world obligations.
Just bear in mind, having a gaming marathon doesn’t constitute a gaming disorder. You can play games a lot and not have any issues. However, if you are disregarding everything else, you might have a mental health issue.
In essence, the gaming disorder directly stems from your gaming addiction. As with other addictions, you simply lose your ability to control yourself in regards to gaming.
Another category the WHO offers is “hazardous gaming.” That category is there to point to gaming behavior that can lead to various types of harm. Lacking any self-control when it comes to video games, can lead to disastrous effects. In fact, there are cases of people, mostly minors, gaming so much they would forget to eat. And, in some rare cases, they would even play so much they would suffer from lethal heart attacks.
We know that games can be addictive. However, if you are showing restraint, and choosing the right games to play, they can be very beneficial. As we said, when it comes to some mental health issues, games can rival prescription meds as a viable treatment.
On the opposite end, gaming too much can lead to dire consequences. It is up to you to regulate yourself and notice if your behavior is becoming hazardous.
In the end, gaming is neither good nor bad in and of itself. What matters is how you approach it.