Are Video Games an Outlet for Anxiety?

In October 28, 2018

Are Video Games an Outlet for Anxiety?

Video games can be a fun escape from real life because they place you in a different world where you can focus your skills and energy. Moreover, they work to increase your concentration level. Some people play video games as a way to socialize with their friends or relax after a long work week. For people that struggle with issues like anxiety disorder, their need to play video games can sometimes become problematic.

Playing a game can be a useful way to relieve stress because it can take your mind away from the things you are worried about. Unfortunately, for people with severe anxiety, video games can create an adrenaline rush that can aggravate their symptoms. Even though video games can also cause a dopamine release they generally trigger the internal alarm system that drives anxiety in people that are vulnerable.

In many cases, video games can become addictive because of the adrenaline and dopamine rush that they provide. For people with anxiety they may begin to play compulsively and even obsess over the game in ways that make it less enjoyable for them. Video games can sometimes increase their stress levels and become a less effective outlet for their anxiety.

This doesn’t mean that people with anxiety should not play video games or should avoid them. They simply need to be cautious about the way that they play and monitor how they react to games or how they affect their symptoms. For someone with anxiety, if they take medication and have learned to manage their symptoms with treatment then video games can still remain a relaxing hobby.

There are plenty of low-stress games and strategies to play video games that can make them a more relaxing activity. If you notice that games start to increase your anxiety then talk to your doctor or therapist.

By Dr. Reuben Vaisman-Tzachor

Primary Therapist