Who would have imagined that a gaming app could help people manage their mental health issues? Pokemon Go was recently released and it appears to be doing just that. If you have a smartphone, the app can be yours really easily and may even help you feel better. Of course, playing the app should never replace any traditional treatment plans you’ve worked out with your doctor. However, it couldn’t hurt to have a little fun with Pokemon Go and see if it helps you.
1. What is Pokemon Go?
Pokemon Go is a free app that you can download on your iOS or Android device. The app is a virtual reality type game that allows you to create an avatar and interact with other players, using the GPS on your smartphone. Not only is the game fun, but it appears to be doing wonders for people with certain mental health issues. Could it work for you? Read on to find out.
2. The Perks for People with Anxiety
Users report that playing Pokemon Go has helped them function in social situations and some agoraphobics say that the game has gotten them outside for the first time in ages. The game is clearly fun to play and motivates users to get out there and capture other Pokemons and enjoy learning the ropes of the app. If you have anxiety, the release the app offers might be enough to occupy your brain and help you function in situations that typically cause your symptoms to flare. It couldn’t hurt, right?
3. When Depression is the Issue
When you have depression, finding the motivation to get moving and enjoy life can be very difficult. Users are seeing that playing Pokemon Go causes a boost to their mood. The theory is that the game is so much fun that it is enticing people with depression to get up and go outside, walk around and interact with other users. This simple move can boost feel good chemicals in your brain and help you function despite your depression.
4. It Spurs Motivation
Many people with mental health issues have a hard time getting things done, whether they are too sad to leave the house, their social anxiety spikes when they go out or they simply fear being away from home. For people who have these issues, the Pokemon Go app could help by making it enjoyable to leave home. If you find it hard to get your errands done, the lure of capturing other Pokemons might be just what it takes to get you out and about.
5. The App Could Boost Endorphins
When you feel good, your brain releases endorphins that boost mood and give you that high you love so much. The great thing about Pokemon Go is that you can interact with other people sans the judgment you may usually feel. Reaching goals in the game and capturing other Pokemons can make you feel good. The lure of feeling like that again is often all it takes to get you out into the world, even if you are playing a game while you’re out there.
6. Maybe You’ll Drop Some Weight
People on certain medications for depression or anxiety could experience weight gain, which can sometimes exacerbate symptoms of your disorder. Because Pokemon Go encourages you to get out and move, you could find that you can better control your weight and your mental health condition simply by playing the game.
7. Is Pokemon Go Right for You?
While there is certainly nothing wrong with playing a game and enjoying it, you can’t rely on Pokemon Go as your only means to controlling your mental health condition. The app was just released so there isn’t any research done on its effectiveness as a treatment option. However, based on user reviews, the app could be something that you could use in conjunction with your doctor’s treatment plan. Talk to your doctor if you want to know more.
Have you played Pokemon Go? What is your experience with it?