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PokéMon Go Update: PokéMon Go Helps Players Deal With Depression, Other Mental Health Conditions

First Posted: Jul 13, 2016 06:35 AM EDT
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Pokémon Go has been dominating the lives of millions of people since its release last week. Players are forced to walk around and explore more interesting things around their cities. However, it turns out that people suffering from mental health conditions have also unexpectedly benefited from the game.

Psychologist John M. Grohol reports on PsychCentral, that although game hasn't been out one full week, many players of Pokémon Go has already taken to Twitter and other social media sites to share how the game has helped them deal with their mental health issues, mood, social anxiety, and depression.

These users explained that Pokémon Go has helped them with their mental health condition by encouraging them to go outside and walk around. This method can positively affect a person especially in dealing with the negative effects of depressive bouts.

Themarysure.com reported that depression and many other mental illnesses can often times makes someone feel isolated and alone, so the fact that Pokémon Go works by tracking players' movements and location, people will feel motivated to leave the house and walk around even for a bit.

Grohol thinks that even though the health benefit of Pokémon Go to one's mental health remains to be unreliable since not everybody deals with the same mental health problems the same way, there are still a lot to be said about the game's ability to encourage people to get up and be active.

"For a person suffering from depression or another mood disorder, the idea of exercise can be nearly impossible to contemplate, much less do," writes Grohol. "For someone suffering from social anxiety, the idea of going outside and possibly bumping into others that may want to talk to you is daunting."

However, since the app encourages people to explore their neighborhood to find and capture a Pokémon, it will be a kind of rewarding for them to leave the house without having to force social interaction, Science Alert reported.

"I think this is a wonderful demonstration of the unintentional but beneficial consequences of gaming and producing a game that encourages healthy exercise," said Grohol.

He added saying, "Hundreds of app developers have tried to develop mood-altering apps by encouraging people to track their mood or with encouraging affirmations. But these apps rarely catch on, and few people continue using them past the first week."

Grohol also said that the developers behind the game didn't mean to make a mental gaming app, but then this game has had positive effects on those playing it.

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