It’s a game that has taken the country by storm.
Everywhere you turn, it seems that someone is getting into Pokemon Go.
The game has had a big effect on the community, and organizations have issued several warnings to keep players safe.
While the game has caused some negative things to happen to players, mental health experts say it is also having a surprising effect.
Mental health experts say it is well documented that exercise helps with depression and mood disorders. However, many depressed patients do not have the drive to exercise.
“For a person suffering from depression or another mood disorder, the idea of exercise can be nearly impossible to contemplate, much less do. For someone suffering from social anxiety, the idea of going outside and possibly bumping into others who may want to talk to you is daunting,” John M. Grohol, Psy. D., wrote for Psych Central.
Pokemon Go is encouraging people who would not otherwise go outside to take a walk and learn a little more about their surroundings.
Experts say the game is fun and players feel rewarded when they capture a Pokemon, meaning that it is providing behavioral activation for players.
The game is also structured and provides immediate feedback, which can be crucial for those suffering from depression. Since the app is so popular, it can also be an easy conversation starter for people with social anxiety.
The game is also giving some players a glimpse into another disorder.
“As I grabbed a Pikachu outside of the Sheraton Grand Hotel, I realized something- Playing Pokemon Go is exactly what it’s like to have ADHD: 100% Completely distracted while 100% completely, absolutely focused. It’s the perfect metaphor. We’re staring at our phones, 100% hyper-focused on the screen in front of us, while still managing to process all our signals from the outside world, yet not doing anything we’re supposed to be doing,” Peter Shankman wrote.
Shankman encourages people without ADHD to play the game to better understand what those suffering from the disorder deal with all of the time.