The U.S. Government is Prescribing Video Game Therapy For Children (Yes, Really)

The FDA just approved a video game to be used as a treatment for ADHD which is a huge step forward for games as a treatment for mental health problems.
Endeavor, FDA, Videogame
It's been a long time coming but the FDA FDA just granted clearance to the first prescription treatment delivered through a video game - for the first time ever. | Source: AkiliInteractive
  • The FDA recently approved video games to be prescribed to children with ADHD.
  • In particular, the video game in question is being used to treat children aged 8-12.
  • This could potentially open the door to video games being used to treat other mental health problems.

It’s often claimed that video games can be a force for good. It seems like the federal government might officially agree. The FDA (Federal Drug Administration) has recently approved prescribing video games for kids with ADHD.

With this endorsement from the FDA, is it time to start looking to video games for more than just entertainment?

FDA - Video Games Approval Tweet
The story was highlighted on Twitter by CNN. | Source: Twitter

People Already Use Video Game for Health

It’s pretty easy to see that people use video games for a variety of reasons. People already use them to help deal with their anxiety and other mental health problems.

Video games being approved as a treatment by the FDA is a huge deal. It means that their positive benefits are finally being officially recognized.  This might lead to full-blown gamification of mental health treatment.

Video games could hold the key to treating many mental health problems. Chief amongst them is depression. It affects more than 264 million people globally. If video games can help, why shouldn’t we use them?

The FDA Should Continue to Examine the Medium

The reason that the FDA’s approval matters so much is a question of trust. The American people, and people around the world, are more likely to trust a body like the FDA than they are to read and consider peer-reviewed studies.

This matters so much because it means that ordinary people will start to take video games as medicine more seriously. People outside of the gaming community might just start treating them as something more than an entertainment product.

The FDA’s approval is also great because it may put pressure on groups to perform more of these studies in the first place. Especially with developers like Ninja Theory trying to lead a mental health revolution in the first place.

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