Generally, playing video games has been considered as something that causes more harm than good. However, newer studies have shown that a few video games, one of which is a fantasy game, has been helping depressed teens get better and can be used as a therapy tool for kids, adolescents, and adults alike (read further here: parents.com). Unfortunately, there are very view teens that are getting treatment for their depression not only because they do lack finances but also because they are hesitant to visit a therapist.
In New Zealand, they resolved this problem by developing SPARX, an interactive video game that provides cognitive behavioral therapy in a way that it is fun, interesting, and mind-boggling. SPARX means Smart, Positive, Active, Realistic, and having the X-factor ideas that are created to help reduce depression. The game is begun with the player creating an avatar that is tasked to restore virtual world balance by extinguishing the dark, negative thoughts. The depressed teen does this with the help of cognitive behavioral therapy as he is taught that negative thought patterns are damaging to the person and the balance of the world.
Slowly, as the depressed user/patient becomes enlightened and eventually shuns from negative statements like “I’m such a loser’ or “Nobody loves me,” the cycle of pain, depression, and mental illness are reduced or better yet stopped.
Details On The Fantasy Game
As mentioned before, the game’s purpose is to abolish the negative ‘characters,’ the negative thoughts that are circling the virtual world. The user goes through seven fantasy levels, beginning at the Cave Province, where the user is taught about the basic things he needs to know about depression and healing. The Ice Province, the second level, is filled with action at the same time teaches the user some relaxation strategies. The user then moves on to the Volcano Province where the user is provided with guidelines on what to do to control extreme emotions like anger. The subsequent provinces – Mountain, Swamp, and Bridgeland – focus on encouraging the user to find ways to resolve the particular problems and eliminating the thoughts that are not beneficial.
In a study done recently, over 40% of the patients who played SPARX were completely cured of their depression, while nearly 30% showed minor positive outcomes with regular treatment. It is vital to note that about 81% of the video game users said they would recommend it to their friends and 96% recommends it to others.
No matter how unclear the outcomes may be, it is a fact that video gaming therapy has been a convenient, cheaper, and effective way to battle depression, especially among kids and teens. You can find here suggested video games and some recommended ps4 games for kids.
As mentioned in KidsHealth.org, another strategy that this technology has developed is the computerized CBT. This was found to be effective for in-person therapy for depression and anxiety disorders. The British National Health Service utilizes CBT to create evidence-based therapies for depression and anxiety.
Some research still suggests that traditional face-to-face therapy is relevant due to the strong relationships that are developed between therapists and patients. However, the success of digital interventions cannot be denied. It is clear that having solid relationships is crucial to maintaining good mental health, although these computerized type of therapies are not sufficient to cure depression unless these therapies are not geared towards helping the patients and supporting the therapy. Current research and studies also prove that more teens are getting their hands on this onscreen treatment as it relieves them of their depression without the anxiety and resistance when they are asked to visit a therapist.
What Others Play For Depression
Life Is Strange. The user needs to make choices that can affect the future. Whatever choices you make have its consequences. The depressed user feels motivated. Thus he needs to feel less depressed, to be able to choose wisely appropriately. This game helps users realize that a problem only consumes you if you let it.
The Legend Of Zelda – Breath Of The Wild. Many depressed teens that have played this game say that escaping into a beautiful and complicated virtual world calms them. The visuals and music are truly relaxing. In Breath of Wild, gruesome evil characters invade the world, and the user needs to eradicate these characters. As he successfully does this, he feels that although he has his evils, there is always hope for him to heal and come out of that dark hole.
Mine Craft. This game remains to be popular ever since it came out a few years ago. Even those who are depressed have benefited from it. Users report being relaxed when they can create something relevant. There’s also not too much action, so most users think it doesn’t cause them more stress.