Video gamers out there, raise your hand if you have ever been told that your video game habits will result in a rotten brain? Ok well, how about if #video games will make you a violent person? You can all put your hands down now. I am sure we can agree that too much can be harmful, especially for small children.

Now raise your hands if someone has told you that video games such as "Pokemon Go" can make you a calm person, and can help with your problems of addiction, mental and social health? According to a new study, video games can do exactly that. Researchers have found that video games, when exposed to victims of traumatic events, can actually aid in recovery and prevent the development of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.

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Video games can also help addicts with their cravings, by providing something to distract and minimise dependencies.

Can a game help with recovery?

According to Clinical Psychologist Emily Holmes, who has helmed several studies on this topic, playing 20 minutes of Tetris following a catastrophic and traumatic event can significantly decrease the severity of recurring PTSD following the incident. 71 Participants to the study were recruited soon after a major traffic accident. While in the hospital, 37 participants were given a Nintendo DS with a version of Tetris to play, and the other 34 were a control group with no gaming system.

Participants who were given Tetris to play while in recovery, reported only 8.7 distressing flashbacks related to their incident, on average. In contrast, the control group received on average 23.3 intrusive and upsetting flashbacks that would be characteristic of PTSD.

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Could be due to the visuospatial demands of playing the game, and other such puzzle games could possibly have the same result according to the researchers. However, there are limitations to this study. A month later the researchers found no statistical differences between the groups, meaning the effects were short-term results. The trials were also with small sample sizes of participants.

Put down that cigarette and pick up that controller

People with addictions could also find solace in playing video games. Another study published in 2015 required 31 students to record their cravings for a week. After filling out a short survey about addiction, 15 students were able to play a few minutes of Tetris, while the rest did not. The results showed that playing video games can diminish craving strength for harmful substances such as alcohol and tobacco by 13.9 percent.

Again having that visuospatial task is hypothesized to distract the visual images of having a drink or cigarette. There are still limitations with this study too, like being of a small sample size, so perhaps don't rely on the latest Call of Duty to curb that bad habit of yours. #mental health #Games Studies