Video Games & Mental Health

Video Games & Mental Health

The best studies on video games & mental health help us understand how video games affect your mental health. These are great questions and documents if you are a gamer of any kind.

How video games affect mental health is a subject most people don’t know or even think of asking. And these studies on video games & mental health help answer basic questions about that.

As a peer recovery specialist, who has dealt with individuals with mental health issues and is himself a regular game player (RPG especially), this is an intriguing topic..

 But I am no doctor or nurse, I am only a peer recovery specialist who helps in recovery. Call your local provider or medical clinic for professional information on diagnosis.

The thought to be side-effects of gaming, such as the ones talked about in the 1993 congress hearing about violence on video games. Link to highlights.

led to the labeling of video games on the level of violence in the game. Like ratings on movies, in 1993 that meant blood, sex scenes, or too much violence. The big studies on video games effect on children and adults were not done until after the 2010s.

The studies that were done in the past, have different results. To explain, most studies done before the last 4 years have all been done on negative subjects such as video gaming addiction (which itself is yet to be recognized as a disorder by the American Medical Association).

In the reseated years there have been multiple studies on the positive effects of video gaming. Here are the best studies on video games & mental health

Gaming your mental health: A narrative review on mitigating symptoms of depression and Anxiety using commercial video games. Published June of 2021

The study points out that it helps people with depression and anxiety with

  1. Goal achievement
  2. Positive reappraisal
  3. Mood repair
  4. Emotional regularity  
  5. Dealing with General Anxiety

A video game in general helps with emotions such as

1. joy

2. happiness

3. Appreciation

4. competences

5. social connections

During the Covid-19 outbreak, it was noticed that the sales of the gaming industry skyrocketed during the lockdown. People were using online games such as the war of warcraft, Fortnite, and Final Fantasy games to combat loneliness and to fight feelings of isolation.

As a person with a low immune system because of a kidney transplant because of polycystic kidney disease. I was one of those people that help the sales and used it to fight isolation and loneliness.

RPG (Role-play Games) help with self-identification alone. Those same games talked about before also promote

  1. Facilitate flexibility
  2.  emotional regulations

Aggressive video games are not a risk factor of mental health problems in youth: A longitudinal study published in January of 2021.

Explains that Aggressive Video Games (AVG) do not truly impact later youth mental health problems. And that labeling video game violence as the cause of violent behavior or aggression in youth is false.

Also to point out

  1. 79% of gamers are 18 and above
  2. Average gamers age nowadays is 35 years old

Explaining that children are not the quantity of video game users in modern times. Also, to mention that the gaming industry pays 33.3 billion in wages, salaries, tips, benefits, and labor income yearly.

Video Games & Addiction

It still matters how much gaming you do and how you handle it. These signs point to possible IGD. The diagnostic & statistical manual of mental disorders explains that 12 months and having all five signs must occur together to be diagnosed with IGD. Some signs of IGD are:

  1. Emotional withdraw
  2. Loss of interest in other activities
  3. Gaming to escape negative moods, a distraction from fear or anxiety.

But the diagnostic & statistical manual also explains that activities that were done more than normal can also be signs of abuse and bullying. Over-eating, gaming using an extreme amount of time, unusual rebel type of behavior, social withdrawal, wanting isolation, and more can all be signs of mental health issues.

As an individual who had stress from epilepsy and bullying themselves, I can relate to that, and it makes sense.


To quickly finish, these studies that focus on just negative effects are not the full picture of the effects of how video games affect mental health. People who are thrilled and energetic play video games at a higher rate than the average person but that does not automatically mean they are a person with mental health problems.

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