Pokemon Go: Drug-Free Way to Combat Narcissistic Abuse-Related PTSD?

Written by Angela Atkinson

Can a game help to make your narcissistic abuse recovery less difficult? Maybe so, and I’m about to tell you all about it. 

July 6, 2016, something kind of unexpected happened to me – I accidentally found a connection with a whole bunch of other people across the world, who, luckily, included my kids.

In fact, I was far from alone – and within 24 hours of the game hitting the US app stores, the game had more active users than freaking Tinder!

Yeah, I’m talking about Pokemon Go, the app that has taken over your Facebook news feed and has already changed the lives of millions. But this one’s different than Candy Crush and all kinds of other games I never managed to get addicted to – it’s a whole other thing.

See, the way the game is played, it almost forces you to go out and move your butt a little, and to do so in places in the community around you.

You’re a Poke trainer and you are tasked with a few different things – including collecting/catching/hunting these little Pokemon creatures (monsters?) who you can then train and use to battle other players at the Pokemon gym.

But here is the reason I’m talking about this today – I believe that this app could literally change our society.

I’ve met neighbors I didn’t know before. I’ve run into all kinds of people that I couldn’t have or wouldn’t have ever run into – and I’ve got a whole new way to connect with my kids.

And what’s better is the latest news: apparently, people are reporting lots of benefits – in addition to the obvious benefits (moving your ass and getting into the community more often), there’s the whole mental health factor.

(Not to mention that local landmarks and businesses are seeing more traffic than ever – our St. Louis Zoo seeems to find itself busier than ever since that date).

And, while I’m brimming with ideas on how this app could change the whole world, I’m even more excited about the mental health part.

Okay, so what do the experts say about the effects of Pokemon Go on your mental health?

“In terms of the phenomena of people expressing the benefits of playing the game to their real-world mental health status, I think that’s very unique and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that,” Dr. John Grohol, the founder of Psych Central, told Engadget. 

“The research is really, really clear on this, that the more you exercise, the more it would help decrease feelings of depression,” he told the tech news site. “It actually works as an anti-depressant and it has a really, pretty strong effect. It’s probably one of the most beneficial things a person with depression can do, especially if they’re not accessing other types of treatments, such as psychotherapy or medication.”

Dr. Greg Wadley, a computer science lecturer from the University of Melbourne told ABC Australia that there are definite mental health benefits to playing the game.

“That way of taking a break and letting the mind think about something different is better than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, which is what a lot of people do to de-stress,” he said.

And, he added, in addition to making people less isolated, an augmented reality game like Pokemon Go does force people to go outside and exercise.

Maybe even better, if you’re hanging out at a Poke-stop and there are 10 or 20 other people there all catching Pokemon, guess what? You’ve got something to talk about.

Of course, it’s a well-documented fact that physical exercise is one of the best ways to combat depression, and almost every other mental health issue. And in addition, the social aspect and the whole changing your scene deal are also standard practice when it comes to getting through the tough times.

Some users say that the game has actually become a better treatment than anything their doctors could prescribe and anything their therapists recommended.

So that’s what I’ve got for today – how about you – are you playing? What do you think about this phenomenon? What other unique ways have you found to get through the hard times? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section and let’s discuss it.

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