In 2020, depression was the second most common disease in the world. In fact, there are no people who are immune to it in the long run, so it can affect any of us at some point in our lives. In addition to conventional methods of treating this condition, other alternative methods are also being researched. One potential solution to this problem is video games, which are already showing measurable, positive results for patients.
Video games are often the subject of research, but they are often cast in a rather negative light. However, many of them can have a positive impact on our mental health.
People with depression often struggle with very low mood or cognitive impairment. Performing even the simplest tasks may prove to be quite a challenge for them. The research conducted by the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Bonn (Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Germany) involved 46 people (16 – 65 years old) with diagnosed depression (MDD – Major Depressive Disorder). They were divided into three groups: an experimental group (14 people) who played three sessions (one session = 45 min) of video games per week (Super Mario Odyssey on the Nintendo Switch console), a control group (16 people) who used the CogPack program, and a treatment group traditional methods (16 people), i.e. medications and psychotherapy. The results turned out to be very interesting.
After six weeks, the participants were given questionnaires to complete, which asked questions about the occurrence of depressive episodes, motivation to perform tasks, etc. At the same time, the patients’ abilities were tested again (visuospatial memory – BVMT-R). The final result was greater improvement in depression symptoms for all patients who were able to play 3D video games for the duration of the study. In addition, they also had greater “training motivation”. However, when it comes to visuospatial memory tests, the rate was very similar to other treatment methods. An important fact in the study is that three-dimensional productions were used to obtain positive results, in which our hippocampus plays a significant role. People suffering from depression often find themselves literally trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts. Video games help interrupt them because they absorb our minds. This element may be very important in treatment, although, of course, more tests need to be performed. We will find all the conclusions and observations at this address.
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry