Can ADHD Be Calmed By Playing Video Games?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, more commonly called simply ADHD, has been a controversial neurological illness for decades. Many people believe that ADHD stems from a behavioral problem or poor parenting. Parents with children who have ADHD, however, know that this is not the case.

Certainly, ADHD has been widely misdiagnosed as well as over-medicated. This is likely the cause of the confusion over whether or not ADHD is a legitimate disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD can be broken down into three categories: inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Signs of inattention due to ADHD include difficulty focusing on tasks, trouble completing or turning in homework assignments, and becoming easily distracted. Children who are hyperactive may exhibit behavior such as continuous talking, fidgeting, and inability to sit still, and difficulty in working on quiet tasks. Impulsivity due to ADHD is described as being impatient, acting without fear of consequences, or being inappropriate in speech or behavior.

While medication has predominantly been the treatment of choice for ADHD, diets limiting sugar and certain dyes have also had some success in controlling behavior due to ADHD.

A new ADHD treatment has been tested in China, which has seen some promising results. The majority of children worldwide love to play video games. Kids with ADHD are no different. A study has been performed in China involving five elementary age schoolchildren with ADHD using a new neurocognitive computer game. The study found that each child saw overall improvement, completion of tasks, and relationships with teachers as well as other students.

Research study authors Han Jiang and Dr. Stuart Johnstone wrote the following regarding the new ADHD study.

“The present study implies that the neurocognitive training can result in broader and more socially meaningful outcomes than improvement of ADHD symptoms.

Two reasons possibly explain the side effect. First, the increased attentive behavior in class and improved quality of schoolwork improved these children’s social status. Second, game-driven and task-directed features of the training increased the children’s confidence in doing tasks.”

Parents of the children with ADHD studied evaluated the kids before trying the computer game, reporting hyperactivity, inattention, and problems with teachers and students. Following the ADHD treatment, the students were again evaluated by parents, who reported behavior within normal parameters. Even the teachers of the students reported great improvement in frequency of ADHD symptoms.

Johnstone and Jiang conclude with the following thoughts.

“These findings indicate that once the children have received positive support and technical aids, they can achieve dramatic improvements. The outcomes have provided the foundation for a large randomized control trial which is currently underway in Australia, as well as two further controlled studies in China.”

Do you think special computer games can combat the symptoms of ADHD?

[Image via Hang the Bankers]

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