The Truth About Video Games and Your Mood

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There's a lot of debate over the impact video games might have on mental health. Here's what we know.

Can playing a lot of violent video games make you more aggressive? Maybe. Some researchers link this habit to higher odds of aggressive behavior, angry feelings, and less empathy, but they don't connect it to criminal behavior. And at least one big study of children finds that the risk of video games leading to behavior problems is small.

Can gaming a lot raise your odds of getting depressed? Another big maybe. Some experts say teens who game for more than four hours a day show signs of depression. But other research doesn't show a link.

Can you become addicted to video games? That's unclear, but maybe. The World Health Organization has released a new diagnosis called gaming disorder. The group describes it as a video game habit that disrupts your job, school, or personal life for at least a year. But gaming disorder is controversial because some experts question whether there is another underlying mental health disorder to blame.

The bottom line-- not everyone who plays video games a lot runs the risk of having a problem from it, but try to enjoy them in moderation. And remember, it's important to get exercise and hang out with friends in the real world too.