It seems like the plot in an episode of science fiction but for the first time, doctors in the United States can now prescribe a video game for their patients with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
In a groundbreaking study, researchers have uncovered evidence that for specific age groups of patients (ages 8-12), playing a neuroscientist-created video game can actually be considered a medical treatment.
The benefits of playing video games have been known to science and popular culture for some time now, from improving cognitive function, creativity, critical thinking, and response time to boosting problem-solving abilities, multitasking, and visual-spatial skills.
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ADHD is a neurological affliction that mainly affects children and can last into adulthood. Symptoms of ADHD include things like the inability to control impulsive behavior, inattentiveness, forgetfulness, difficulty sitting still, talkativeness, and difficulty getting along with others.
With one or many of these symptoms, it’s easy to see how ADHD could affect interpersonal relationships, schoolwork, and overall happiness in sufferers. While the causes are still unknown, ADHD remains one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children.
In 2020, the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approved EndeavorRX for use in the treatment of ADHD in children. EndeavorRX from Akili Interactive, formerly Project EVO has the distinction of being the first-ever video game that can legally be prescribed by doctors and marketed as medicine in the United States.
While it may look like many other video games out there, this app-based game was developed with the help of neuroscientists and specifically targets areas of the brain that enhance attention function and encourage multitasking, purposefully introducing distractions that (hopefully) the patient will learn to ignore over time.
When a child is diagnosed with ADHD, their doctor may prescribe EndeavorRX as a treatment to help control the symptoms. If so, the doctor will send an activation link to the child’s parents that gives the patient access to the game through an app.
The game is fairly simply designed. Players control a little alien that travels around the galaxy in his spaceship, collecting items and completing missions. The game actually starts out quite challenging, with a lot of moving parts to get the player’s attention… and keep it.
Unlike most video games on the market, this one is not one-size-fits-all. As the child plays the game, a computer algorithm actually measures their progress and performance in completing the game’s objectives. As a player succeeds or fails, the algorithm customizes the difficulty of the game in real time.
While this landmark decision may seem like a radical notion to some, the FDA did not make this move overnight.
Before this video game was approved as a prescription, the game actually underwent five clinical trials spanning seven years and involving 600 children to determine its efficacy.
After years of studies by ADHD experts and professionals, the results were in. According to researchers, one-third of kids treated “no longer had a measurable attention deficit on at least one measure of objective attention” after playing the game.
Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD, there’s ample evidence of the benefits of playing video games on the human mind. Specific games with peaceful themes and easy-to-achieve rewards can certainly put the mind at ease.
It’s conceivable that playing no deposit free spins slots will indeed lower your blood pressure and put you into a state of relaxation as well.
If you’ve ever come home after a long day of work and opened your favorite video game app on your phone to play for a bit, you’ve surely noticed that within a short time, you’ve forgotten all about your stressful day as you enjoy the game and unwind.
While many are still skeptical of the idea that playing a video game could be considered a therapeutic remedy for a medical condition, the results speak for themselves as many happy children and parents reap the benefits of this new treatment.
Additionally, ADHD is not the only disorder that can be helped by playing video games. Studies have shown that certain games can help Alzheimer’s patients retain memory and cognition, while virtual reality games help burn victims and relieve their pain.
The benefits of playing video games are numerous, including stimulating creativity, memory, and focus, improving critical thinking skills, prosocial behavior, and hand-eye coordination.
So before you dismiss the idea out of hand, playing video games for mental health might be just what the doctor ordered.