Pac-Man Works Better than Prozac.

Pac-man Works Better than Prozac

I have discovered a scientific study that demonstrates that video games are potentially more beneficial than pharmacological products for injury victims who suffer from depression.

The Scientific Study

Carmen V. Russoniello, PhD.  Dr. Russonello is a Professor and the Director of the Center for Applied Psychophysiology at East Carolina University.  He, along with Matthew Fish, MS, and Kevin O’Brian, PhD recently published a study entitled “The Efficacy of Casual Videogame Play in Reducing Clinical Depression:  A Randomized Controlled Study.”

The purpose of the study was to determine whether playing video games could help people with depression.  The study divided people with depression into two groups.  The first group played video games three times per week and the second group surfed the internet for the same amount of time.  Those who played video games reported significant decrease in depression symptoms.

This is an important for our injury clients.  We help people with catastrophic or life-changing injuries.  Many times those kinds of injuries cause depression.

Traditional medical therapies generally include prescription drugs.  Most of us want to avoid taking prescription drugs because of the risk of side effects.  This study proves that playing video games can be as effective or in some cases more effective than prescription drugs in alleviating the symptoms of depression.

Anecdotal Evidence

After reading this study, I met with a client who I know is suffers from depression.  He has a very serious neck injury.  He is in daily pain. It is permanent.  He has been diagnosed with depression as a result.  I can see it in his face.

I hesitated to bring up the study.  He is counting on me to help him with the financial challenges presented by his injury.  I thought he might be insulted by me bringing up "VIDEO GAMES!" as a component of the solution.  I brought it up anyway.

His expression changed.  His eyes glistened.  It took him a minute to respond.   He regained his composure.

"That is what I have told her!" he said and motioned to his wife.  She had been giving him the business for wasting his life playing video games.  He went on, "They keep me from doing things I shouldn't.  They help me."  Again, he struggled to collect himself emotionally.

I knew what he meant.  He meant playing video games kept him from drinking, using drugs or hurting himself. 

How great is that?!  He was completely vindicated.  Scientific research had completely validated his guilty pleasure.

I learned about this study from an on-line TED video presentation given by dynamic speaker and game designer, Jane McGonigal.   A link to the video follows:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfBpsV1Hwqs