Video game helps teenagers battling depression

Fantasy computer games can benefit teenagers suffering from depression – similar to the benefits they would get from one-on-one time with a therapist, a new study from the British Medical Journal finds.

Researchers from the University of Auckland, New Zealand created a novel computerized cognitive behavioral therapy called SPARX – an interactive 3D fantasy game.  In the game, the user must undergo a series of challenges to bring order to a virtual world that has become overrun by GNATS (Gloomy Negative Automatic Thoughts).

The scientists studied a group of adolescents between the ages of 12 to 19 with mild to moderate depression.  One group played SPARX over a four to seven week period and the other group completed face-to-face counseling with trained clinicians.

The research showed that SPARX was just as effective at reducing depression symptoms in the teenagers as therapy sessions.

Click here to read more from the British Medical Journal.