Gaming and Mental Illness


So, I personally deal with bipolar disorder, and land on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, and gaming plays a huge part in my therapy-in-between-therapy. Games like Dark Souls actually calm me down because of how intensely I have to focus on them; I don’t have any processing power left, so to speak, for the standard suite of anxieties and bad habits that manifest themselves as a result of my illness. Strategy intensive games or immersive games like Divinity: Original Sin, etc. also play a big role in keeping me, literally, sane.

So, having said all that about myself I’m making this topic to ask: does anyone else feel this way? Does anyone else lean on gaming a little to sort of ease or treat their symptoms? Does it help? Do you have to avoid certain kinds of games as a result of an illness or anything?


I am on disability for Depression and severe anxiety and also deal with Agorophobia so i understand what you are getting at. Yes video games help me alot with my mental issues as it keeps me occupied and focused on something other than what makes me depressed or anxious. There are times when i literally cannot go out of my house or room so i turn on a game and try and relax. I hope this is what you are looking for…i know if i didnt have my games to play i would be a mess. :slight_smile:


I know that feeling about you can’t go out, for sure - people a lot of times think you’re kidding or just wimping out but there’s just this massive mental block or terror surrounding the notion, at least on my end.

I appreciate you chiming in, friend - this stuff can be harrowing to share, but I really appreciate knowing there’s other folks in the community like me.


ADHD and an anxiety disorder. It’s hit or miss for me for the anxiety disorder. Gaming can calm me down, but in the wrong mood it can make the anxiety disorder worse when I get amped up.

The ADHD mostly hits the gaming rather than vice versa–I tend to hoard games and play them shallowly because I like the novelty. I’m pretty gunshy about rentals too (ADHD means missing lots of return deadlines) so I end up burning a fair chunk of money buying stuff that never really earns it back in fun because I’m only playing a few hours each. Digital hasn’t exactly made things better, and I have an embarrassingly large number of PS4 and Steam games at this point.

It’s one of the reasons I’m trying to get back into MMOs and team shooters–fixed costs and they tend to keep me too busy to try (and buy) every B-or-more game that comes out. I’ll hyperfocus and play them for hours in a row instead; that has its own issues but it’s cheaper than bouncing from game to game.