Playing computer games could be an effective tool for treating depression in adolescents and they work similar to face-to- face counseling, suggests a new study. The new study found that majority teenagers abominate to seek help for mental health problems. The game treatment could be a cheaper and handier way to help teenagers with depression.
In a bit to tackle the problem of adolescent depression, researchers from the University of Auckland and the University of Otago, New Zealand, developed an interactive fantasy game known as Sparx which sees each player choose an avatar and then face challenges to restore balance in a virtual world overrun by Gnats.
In a study trail nearly two hundred young people with depression participated. The findings of the trail showed that significantly more adolescents recovered completely in the group playing the computer game. Forty-four percent of teenager who completed at least four of the seven modules in Sparx recovered, compared to twenty-six percent of those received face-to-face treatment.
The study revealed that the self-help game, which uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help young users, had as much benefit as more conventional therapies to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety by at least a third. Sparx is an effective resource for help seeking adolescents with depression at primary healthcare sites, stated study authors.
Use of 3D computer games resulted in a clinically significant reduction in depression, anxiety, and hopelessness and an improvement in quality of life. In the Sparx group, ninety-five percent of the adolescents stated they believed the game would appeal to other teenagers and eighty-one percent would recommend it to a friend. The study was reported online in journal bmj.