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Do Violent Video Games Affect Mental Health?


Do Violent Video Games Affect Mental Health?

As technology has advanced, gamers have had access to increasingly complex visuals and intense storylines through the games they play. But when these stories grow darker and more violent, it leaves many contemplating the connection between gaming and mental health. Some say they want to blame these games, while others point to alternative reasons for aggressive behavior. So, do violent video games affect mental health? Banyan Treatment Center Boca Raton, FL, explains.

How Do Video Games Affect Mental Health?

The answer to the question, “How do video games affect mental health?” depends on a variety of factors. These factors include the content of the game, how often it is played, and, most importantly, the mental faculties of the person playing it. In some cases, regularly playing certain video games can actually have a beneficial effect on the mental health of the player. This was seen in an Oxford study that found those who played four hours of animal crossing a day were seen to be happier.1

This sentiment does not necessarily extend to all players, however. Before breaking down the potential damage of violent games on a person’s mental well-being, it is worth considering the impact of excessive gaming. According to a 2018 study, 89% of people addicted to video games also exhibited signs of depression.2 This can be attributed to the fact that when someone is solely focused on a level or game, they may begin to neglect their own needs, like hygiene and maintaining relationships. It is also seen to exacerbate symptoms of social anxiety for similar reasons.

Something else worth considering is the fact that the games in question may not necessarily cause a mental illness but may make a pre-existing one worse. Many people use video games as an escape from the problems of everyday life. While this is perfectly fine when done in moderation, it can also escalate into more issues if not done so responsibly.

The Connection Between Violent Video Games and Mental Health

Exactly how do violent video games affect mental health? Interestingly enough, studies have provided different conclusions to this question. Although it can present opportunities to develop hand-eye coordination and other skills, it has also been seen to have a negative effect on some adolescents. This ultimately will depend on the personality traits held by the player. If a person exhibits violent or aggressive hostility in their everyday life, it is entirely possible that playing violent video games will exacerbate this.3 

The negative traits found to have increased in these players include:3

  • Low agreeableness or a lack of concern for others.
  • Low conscientiousness, a proclivity for rule-breaking, and impulsivity.
  • High neuroticism (a tendency toward depression, self-doubt, or anxiety) or becoming easily emotional in a negative way.

If someone is exhibiting any of the behaviors listed above, it could be a sign that they are in need of the Florida mental health services at Banyan Boca Raton. The connection between mental health and video games does not always have to end in the development of an illness, but it can make a pre-existing one worse. If someone finds themselves struggling in such a way, the many therapy techniques employed at our facility can help them reclaim their life and learn how to properly prioritize their mental health.

To learn more information about the programs we offer and how they can help you heal, call Banyan Boca mental health at 888-280-4763 today.


  1. The Guardian - Video gaming can benefit mental health, find Oxford academics
  2. Frontiers - Internet Gaming Disorder in Adolescents: Personality, Psychopathology, and Evaluation of a Psychological Intervention Combined With Parent Psychoeducation
  3. American Psychological Association - Violent Video Games May Increase Aggression in Some But Not Others, Says New Research

Related Reading

How to Talk to Your Parents About Mental Health

Fun Activities to Improve Your Mental Health


If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, family therapy will contribute to long-term recovery. Contact Banyan Treatment Center in Philadelphia today. We can help you and your family truly recover. Call our treatment center today at 888-280-4763 for more information on how we can guide you through recovery.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Do Violent Video Games Affect Mental Health?
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