In recent times, the world has become more interested in learning how gaming affects how we feel. Before this, games just used to be considered fun until it was discovered that they can greatly impact our mental health. They can make you feel sad, happy, calm, or even evoke long-term effects. This article will examine how gaming impacts us mentally. 

The Dual Nature of Gaming

Various scientific studies indicate the dual nature of gaming's impact on mental health. Gaming can be beneficial to one's mental health and at the same time detrimental. Let’s explain how it can be both.

Positive Aspects of Gaming

Research from Oxford University suggests that playing certain games, most especially calm ones is quite helpful to mental health. Oftentimes, you need to do critical and conceptual thinking to emerge a winner in a game. Many strategy games are designed to test your brain level, making it hyperactive, thus, enabling you to develop problem-solving skills. A report from an online study of 11,430 gamers proves that gaming improves one's reasoning ability which is necessary for problem-solving. 

Also, engaging in gaming activities helps to improve hand-eye coordination. When you play a game, your attention is focused on keeping track, aiming, and taking down your target. You tend to coordinate your brain to transfer visual attention to spatial movement. A series of scientific studies conducted by Li Li, Rongrong Chen, and Jing Chen in August 2016 confirms the importance of gaming on visuomotor control.

Additionally, online gaming fosters cooperation among members of an online gaming community. Meeting with others encourages players to contribute their skills to the team, thereby promoting teamwork and friendship. 

Negative Aspects of Gaming 

One of the harmful effects of gaming is its addiction. A 2022 survey indicates that the statistical population of gaming addicts across the globe is about 3-4%. This brings the total number of the world's population suffering from gaming addiction to an estimated 60 million. 

Another report from the National Institute for Media and the Family in Minneapolis confirms the addictive nature of gaming. It suggests that excessive gaming has been one of the popular triggers of anxiety and depression, especially in young folks. Too much game time can keep them at home for several hours and disconnect them totally from the outside world. 

Gaming Addiction and Mental Health

The 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) defines gaming addiction as a behavioral pattern where engaging in digital or video gaming disrupts personal control, with the individual prioritizing gaming to a degree that it supersedes other personal interests and daily responsibilities. This compulsion persists even when negative repercussions are evident.

The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) carried out on 4,277 adolescents shows a negative connection between screen-media activity and cortical thickness. It explains how the excessive use of screen media causes the brain to age too early. While examining young adults, the study also showed that gaming addicts who are multitaskers are prone to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli and memory representations. 

Although gaming addiction is yet to be recognized as a diagnosable disorder, a neuroimaging study suggests it has similar psychological effects as alcohol and drugs. Some of the signs and psychological effects of gaming addiction include; isolation, fatigue, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Restlessness as a result of an inability to play and over-dependence on gaming as a source of excitement is associated with gaming addiction. In addition, a report shows that gaming addicts exhibit obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), perceived stress, relationship issues, etc. 

Measures to Limit Problem Gaming

Thankfully, top game developers have been putting in several measures to ensure users play responsibly and avoid addiction. Casino software operators lead in this aspect. Many of them offer players restriction tools such as time limits, which allow users to control the time they spend playing. There are also other tools like deposit limits, time alerts, and self-assessment tests. With the self-assessment test, players can assess themselves and identify when gaming is becoming a problem. 

According to Dennis Ekstrom, Editor at, "Effective control measures used at online casinos are necessary in helping players avoid gaming addiction. Game developers have to spearhead the responsible gaming movement, which will in turn create a safe gaming environment for all”