There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not playing violent and morally-challenged video games like “Call of Duty” or “Grand Theft Auto” can have an impact on a child’s mental health.

An abundance of research supports the theory that psychiatric disorders may be perpetuated by excessive playing of video games, but still other research contradicts their results. So, which is it? Concerned parents continue to ask, “Does playing video games hurt my teen?” But they aren’t getting any definitive answers. So, how can you know if teen gaming will cause your teen to acquire some form of psychiatric disorder? 

Video Games and Mental Health: It’s All in the Research 

Studies addressing the possibility that psychiatric disorders may be caused by teen gaming have revealed more than just the obvious side effect of aggressive behavior – they also showed that teens became morally disengaged, showed less self-restraint, and exhibited less self-control. A study from Social Psychological and Personality Science, published online, notes these changes specifically, and gives a lot of insight into how quickly video games can affect a teen’s behavior. 

To further support the argument that video games may be related to psychiatric disorders, Elevations RTC, a residential treatment center for teens, addresses the connection between teen gaming and mental health in their own article on this topic. They cite additional research that shows teen gaming may result in its “negative effects increasing over time,” as well the fact that the more frequently video games were played by kids “the deeper their depression and anxiety became.” 

Still, just as there is evidence to support the disturbing possibility that teen gaming might affect mental health, there are also studies that claim violent video games are okay for kids. However, the bottom line is that excessive gaming does affect teens in one way or another, and whether or not it is going to be detrimental to your teen’s health can’t be determined from any particular study. 

 Helping your teen 

If your teenagers is playing video games excessively and exhibiting behavioral changes, it may not necessarily be causing psychiatric disorders, but it may be supporting existing one. Your teen may also be using gaming as a coping mechanism for other mental health problems, and if you believe your teen may need help, it’s time to talk to a professional. 

As a treatment facility dedicated to the health and wellness of teens, Elevations RTC not only provides individualized care for teens struggling with negative behavior and mental health issues, they also provide a nationally recognized academic program to help them excel throughout the healing process. For any teen in trouble, it’s best not to wait when your child needs professional care. 



Elevations RTC is a program that specializes in both therapy and excellent academics for teens. To find out more, call us at (855) 290-9681.

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