Can video games help with depression?

Play video gamesFor a long time, video games have been considered a cause for depression. Or it can be the other way around? There are many studies that found out that people that spent a lot amount of time gaming were more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety or social phobias. The conclusion was that gaming was causing depression. But what if the gamers where already depressed, and they just found in the games the relaxation that they craved for?

After all, what the studies found was only that the gamers were depressed, there wasn’t a study to get a group of non-depressed people, put them to play video game and then to find out they are depressed. All they found out was that the gamers were depressed, but they didn’t take in to consideration the fact that the gamers may have been already depressed before starting to play.

Maximilian Dichtl reads the news just like anyone else. He’s seen what politicians, psychologist, and concerned parents have to say about video games and their impact on children—that games cause violence, bad grades and depression.

That last one really piques Dichtl’s interest, since he’s dealt with depression for most of his life. But at 20, Dichtl is still an avid gamer. He doesn’t blame gaming for kick-starting his depression. No, that would be when his mom and stepdad decided to start hitting him.

“It’s ironic that people look at this link between kids and video games and decide the games are what’s causing them to act a certain way,” Dichtl told the Daily Dot. “For me, video games were a way to escape the things that were causing my depression.”

Dichtl is one of many young gamers trying to upend the conventional wisdom about gaming and depression.

On the surface, Dichtl may look like the kind of young adult profiled in earlier studies, but he said his relationship with video games is more nuanced.

Dichtl has even found a career goal thanks to gaming. Though he currently works in distribution, a recent trip to a gaming conference has inspired him to try and become a community coordinator—a liaison between online gaming communities and developers.

“Gaming has been a positive force in my life when a lot of people weren’t,” he said. “Some of the best friendships I have wouldn’t exist without video games.”


I am not saying to spend 10 hours a day playing video games. To just isolate yourself in to gaming is not the solution. But a moderate amount of gaming can actually help relieve the stress.

In a study from 2009 in the Annual Review of Cybertherapy and Telemedicine was found that gamers who suffered from mental health issues such as stress and depression were able to cope with their problems better by playing video games, and also video games help them to find the much needed relaxation.

So you may try to play a little game when you are stressed out and you feel that nothing is going right. You need this time for you, to do something just to relax, without feeling guilty. I recommend that you start with an easy game like a puzzle game. This will keep your brain focused and also it can bring you the much needed relaxation. You can download HERE Cave Frenzy, a free Puzzle game to help you relax. But be careful, don’t get addicted to it. 😉

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Juliet Reyes
    3 years ago

    Video games can be helpful as long as we balance and control time. It’s relaxing after a hard work from office. It depends on what video game you play basing on your interest. My teenage boys play video games instead of doing their school work, that’s a distraction that end up with no mastery of their subject, low grades consequence……

  2. ictin
    3 years ago

    Juliet, you are right, balance is the most important thing in life. Everything in excess can have detrimental effects. For example I was amazed when I first founded out that drinking to much water can kill you.

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    2 years ago

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