Mental Health Medicine:  The Case for Video Games

If you’re a fan of video games and get sick of hearing from family and friends that you’re wasting your time, we have some good news!  After years of research and advancement of technology, Doctors are beginning to use video games as a treatment for many cognitive and neurological disorders.

A video game was recently developed by scientists who hope to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use in individuals who have Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and is currently in testing trials. The video game, titled Project Evo, makes players use their cognitive skills to complete a variety of tasks. The creators of the game hope that this will help those with ADHD learn to improve attention spans, ignore distractions, and improve their ability to multi-task. While it will take many years to gain FDA approval, the hope is that doctors can prescribe this video game in lieu of prescription medications that are commonly used to treat ADHD, like Adderall.

While many would assume that health insurance companies would have a problem including video games as a covered health benefit, many are for the use of games as a way to treat neurological conditions.  Insurance providers are saying that the relationship between those who require medical intervention and those who play video games is strong enough to make a compelling argument for video games as a therapy to treat many different disorders.  And it makes much more sense for children, many of whom are already playing video games, to be treated this way instead of with drugs.  Parents may be much more willing to treat their children in a non-invasive way that does not including drugs and research has already proven that the more interesting and fun a child finds treatment, the more likely it is to improve symptoms. 

Once the first of these games obtains FDA approval, researchers will need to figure out the best way a game can provide treatment success and how many video game developers would be willing to create the types of games that are needed.  The innovation of creating video games as medicine to treat these types of conditions is astounding, and researchers are confident that the medical community and video game aficionados can work together to come up with a solution. 

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