back to article Casual games trump meds for depression

"Family friendly" casual games are not merely a mindless way to waste time, but are also an effective treatment against depression, according to a year-long study. "The results of this randomized clinical study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on depression …

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Grenade

Wrong tag line

You're saying that it's a 'game dev [sponsoring] pro game study' but let's be clear: it's a casual game dev, sponsoring a pro casual game study.

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FAIL

Eejits.

Clinically depressed for ten years.

It took several years for me to admit my problems and get put on antidepressants*, which didn't help a jot for over three years on several different meds.

It took another two years and two suicide attempts to get any kind of actual psychotherapy,and after two years of that I'm hosting the local pub quiz - something unthinkable until I had that level of support.

Antidepressants by themselves are useless. Good psychotherapy is the key to getting out of depression. Casual games? A short term distraction from what you perceive to be insurmountable issues.

Alas, real help costs money...

Basically, this study completely misses the point. Yes, only 25% of the clinically depressed get therapy, but an even smaller percentage get *suitable* therapy.

Although as ever, your mileage may vary, one persons anecdote is not a full on scientific study, etc.

Having seen it from the sharp end however, I'm severely fucking dubious of the value of the merit of this research.

Anon, as my bosses - who don't know my psychological background (beyond me being a bit 'crayzee') - read this.

*with no other support, admittedly - just 'eat these and cheer up' sort of thing...

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Anonymous Coward

Amen brother

My thoughts exactly, mate. My first lady was severely depressed and somehow I doubt 'casual gaming' would have sufficed to successfully battle her issues with her parents and major lack of self confidence. She's on the mend now but only through a fuckload of grit, tears and determination, without the psychological help of bejewelled.

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WTF?

Seconded

While I was depressed, I'd play solitaire for hours to avoid dealing with anything - even the stack of unplayed "classic" games beside my PC was too much trouble.

After my suicide attempt, antidepressants & therapy have helped (though the issues are still there) - At least I'm playing Baldur's Gate now & enjoying the puzzles.

As PopCap have paid-for (ad-free) versions of their games, I assume it's just to make money. Now if it had been Wii (or other motion-controller) games that had been trialled, on the basis that exercise is known to help with depression, I'd be more inclined to believe it was a valid study.

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Unhappy

stupid study is stupid

miserable people were put in a room. One was given meds and nothing to do, the other was distracted with a shiny.

/congratulate whatever made the shiny.

-

aside from 59 people not being statistically relevant, nor getting into rigor or the abysmal problems of pollution you have with depression studies, I do actually support this as news; its about time people stopped treating depression as a "rub some pills on it, you'll be 'right" problem. If being glib or posting news lines like this helps raise the general awareness that prescribing something other/additional to meds.

but then, having been heavily medicated (fuck you very much, Venlafaxine) anything that would have kicked me up maslows pyramid would have been a welcome : prescribe WoW for everyone; give people something they can interface with, invest in, derive quality feedback from and feel a sense of community with. IME most people devoid of inherited imbalances, or psychological traumas like bereavement or PTSD are usually depressed because of a disconnect between their actions and the outcomes, or a problem with control over their lives (nobody notices when you do fuck all, and nobody notices when you bust your hump? stuck doing something you hate because you have kids, credit, a mortgage? etc, etc etc). but hey; thats just my experience.

anon because, well; we're all sharing, and caring, and hugging and stuff.

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Silver badge

What about...

how depressed you can get when you realise just how much time you've blown on games when you should have been doing something more productive.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed

I went through a f*cking awful period of depression, and whilst the doctor was very helpful (in that she prescribed me some AD's) there was no other support. After a couple of suicide attempts it became clear that the AD's weren't working, and with the help of my family I started to tackle the cause rather than attempting to treat the symptoms.

I'm still not 100% but I'm orders of magnitude better than I was. Games wouldn't have helped me at all, given that I wasn't willing to touch the laptop outside of work (I've got several projects that I ended up abandoning part way through). The only thing that helped slightly was music, and even that was a short relief.

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Anonymous Coward

Benfit of recognising patterns

Many years ago at the ripe old age of 36 without any prior history of mental problems, other than the odd panic attack. I had a full-on pychotic episode. Interestingly enough, just after I had done a course on neurology.

To cut a long story short I was not too impressed with psychological help that I received from either the NHS or Private sectors. Treatment was pretty much conducted on a purely medication basis.

I recognised that I need to get some control over my thought disorder. So I decided to work through basic mathematic text books and puzzle magazines to try and gain some discipline over my mind. I was never a huge fan of either before but I cannot deny that I did not find it hugely beneficial in getting over my issues. If training the brain in finding true patterns from word searches helped me, then I would imagine finding patterns in a casual game of Bejeweled may actually have some benefits.

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Anonymous Coward

Someone please explain...

... how a game such as Bejeweled is a "Family friendly" game. I would have thought that this meant "a game that you play with other family members", but it's not like Bejeweled is a multi player game. Except if your wife/sister/brother/parents keep on yelling "this one, swap this one" over your shoulder while you're trying to play YOUR game. But then that would be more a "family irritating" game, and it would lead to murder rather than depression.

And that his why, ladies and gentlemen, I conclude that games kill.

(this study was sponsored by Jack Thompson)(we need a smaller font)

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Unhappy

Depression

When I was at my worst I used games as a method of avoidance and escape. Definitely not the best way to treat depression. Years on down the line I don't play games at all any more. I still suffer from depression occasionally (it's generally a lifelong thing, unfortunately) but I found more enjoyable and productive ways to combat it.

I have serious doubts as to the validity of the "research". Remember when a research project said water is a better stimulant than coffee? Sponsored by Evian, IIRC.

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Joke

Bejeweled 2

They should test non-depressed individuals to see if being forced to play Bejeweled 2 /induces/ depression....it would for me.

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