Video Games Could Replace Drugs For ADHD Patients

Inspiring 5

Doctors in Finland are prescribing video games as an alternative to drugs like Ritalin for patients -- including countless children -- who have been diagnosed with ADHD. The concept, backed by research, involves doctors first analyzing a person's brain, discovering with parts are too active or not active enough, and then creating games for them that stimulate that part of the brain. The idea is if you spend time each day training the brain to think the right way, you can get the brain to think that way more often. 

It's an out-of-the-box idea that seems too simple to be true -- but comes at a time when we desperately need it. 

Even though the average age a child is diagnosed with ADHD is seven, which I still feel is very young, there are instances where preschools are actually evaluating babies as young as three and recommending that families seek a more thorough clinical evaluation of the child. Are they kidding? How many three-year-olds are able to sit still or not focus for long periods of time? Also, at that age, don't kids still differ wildly in how they learn? 

Anyway, while some families experience success with behavioral modification programs and don't feel the need to medicate their children, others just can't find another way to keep their children focused in school. I don't fault them at all because, as a parent, what are you supposed to do? Are you going to sit by and watch your child fall behind in class because of something that's out of his control? 

But drugs aren't the ideal or perfect solution. As someone who taught in a special education classroom, I found it heartbreaking that many of my medicated students with ADHD would be perfectly fine and focused at eight in the morning, but wouldn't be able to sit still after lunch, when the effects of their drugs began to wear off.

Many were unable to complete homework assignments after school because, by then, the drug had really lost its efficacy and, understandably, their parents weren't about to give them more drugs at night. They also didn't feel comfortable increasing their child's dosage in the morning because they wanted their children to be children, and not zombies.

It's high time researchers find a better way to treat ADHD and I really hope they make a breakthrough with video game technology. With hope, we'll be able to give meds the boot one day soon. 

Do you have any experience with ADHD drugs? Are you satisfied with your child's ADHD treatment? 

 

Image Via Kari Sullivan/Flickr

behavior, kid health, special needs, technology, video games

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Bubsy Bubsy

My fiancee was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child, and was medicated for the majority of his life, but now is medication free, and coping wonderfully, and swears by video games as a method to help him learn to concentrate and zone in on a particular task. 

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

there was another article years ago where they talked about how MMORPG games like World of Warcraft were helping kids with things like math and geography and such.  Heck, I remember back in my day games like the Oregon Trial, Where in the World is Carmen Sandeigo, and Mathblasters and how my parents encouraged my sis and I to play those.  I think things like this is great since it shows how video games can be beneficial.

Traci... Traci_Momof2

Interesting.  My 6 year old has been diagnosed with ADHD and video games or computer games, mostly Minecraft, are the one thing that he will zone in to for hours at a time if we let him.  Maybe letting him play it is actually good for him.  {{shrugs}}


To answer the question at the end, my son is currently medicated.  Adderall, currently at 7.5 mg each day.  We had started at 5 mg and recently upgraded.  We're still in the trial and error stage to see what works best for him.  It was only about 5 months ago that he was diagnosed so we're still figuring out what works best for him.  I am not against medicating but I also don't want to rely solely on medication so I continue to look for other ways as well to help him manage.  My hope is that maybe by the time he is an adult, he will have enough other tools in his belt to manage that he won't need medication.  Or will only medicate situationally.

amand... amandajoy21

@Traci_Momof2 my 7 year old son also loves Minecraft and will sit there for hours if you let him. He was on Ritalin last year, but once the medication wore off he was a mess you would just look at him and he would start crying and screaming. This year we are trying Adderall twice a day. He gets one right before he leaves for school and one right after lunch. This helps him calm down all day long. We did try not to medicate him and by christmas he had already had an in school suspension for behavioral issues. We never medicate after school or on weekends/breaks because we want him to learn to control his behavior in an environment where if he fails it won't affect his future.

Steve Ellis

Great idea. It assists me.

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