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Home » Newspaper News

Video Games are becoming a stress reliever for teens with anxiety

March 27, 2014
James F Byrnes Freshman Academy

Your heart rate increases, your stomach starts to get upset, and you start to have a shortage of breath. Your teacher is in front of the class talking and the class is silent, dead silent.

You have to get out of there . . . that’s all you think about. You will do anything to get out of there. So you raise your hand, and the teacher calls on you.  All you can feel are the stares of everyone burning through your skin, waiting to hear what you have to say.  You are a victim of anxiety disorder.

Surprisingly, recent research has found that video games can reduce the symptoms of this disorder.

Coping with anxiety can be a hard thing to do,  so “playing a science-based mobile gaming app for 25 minutes can reduce anxiety in stressed individuals” according to research published in Clinical Psychological Science (CPS), a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

According to the CPS, “In the study, about 75 participants -- who all scored relatively high on an anxiety survey -- were required to follow two characters around on the screen, tracing their paths as quickly and accurately as possible.”

They went on to say, “After playing the game for either 25 or 45 minutes, the participants were asked to give a short speech to the researchers while being recorded on video -- an especially stressful situation for these participants. The videos revealed that participants who played the ABMT-based version of the game showed less nervous behavior and speech during their talk and reported less negative feelings afterward than those in the placebo group.”

Affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, anxiety has been one of the most common medical disorders in the United States. Twenty-five percent of teens suffer from anxiety at some time in their lives.

According to The Saint Jose Mercury News, “Surveys have shown that 25 percent of teens have suffered anxiety at some time in their lives, 11.2 percent major depression and 2.4 percent agoraphobia.” Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which a person has attacks of intense fear and anxiety in social situations.

Anxiety can have a big effect on peoples’ everyday lives.  One of the most common anxiety disorders is social anxiety, the fear of people’s being judgmental.

Google search said that anxiety is, “the extreme fear of being scrutinized and judged by others in social or performance situations: Social anxiety disorder can wreak havoc on the lives of those who suffer from it.”

The Saint Jose Mercury News also said that “anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year, almost one-third of the country's $148 billion total mental health bill, according to ‘The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders.’”


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