Video Games: The New Prozac

Classic time-wasters seem to ease the symptoms of depression in studies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2009 10:26 AM CDT
A screenshot from "Bejeweled."   (©AchimH)
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(Newser) – If depression's got you down, it might be time to turn to your Wii over your wee blue pills, reports the Washington Post in a look at how video games might ease the disease. For one depression sufferer, Bejeweled was "a big help in getting through to the next morning." And when she wrote parent company PopCap, it commissioned a study that concluded that players experienced better moods and heart rhythms. Now, it’s launching another study, testing it against clinical markers of depression.

Nor is PopCap alone. Many game developers are trying to crack the mental health market, the Washington Post reports, on the theory that many mental health disorders like depression involve systematic thought patterns that can be disrupted by focusing on a video game. The games are especially valuable for Type A personalities, who often require a low level of stressful arousal to relax.