(GREENVILLE, N.C.) -- Casual video games, such as family-friendly, non-violent puzzle games, can significantly lower symptoms of depression, according to a new study released Wednesday.
Researchers at East Carolina University's Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic conducted the year-long study of nearly 60 participants, all of whom were clinically depressed. Researchers found that those who were exposed to the video games -- about half of the participants -- had their depression symptons go down by 57 percent.
Participants who played also had an average mood improvement of 65 percent and a reduction in anxiety by an average of 20 percent.
"The results of this study clearly demonstrate the intrinsic value of certain casual games in terms of significant, positive effects on the moods and anxiety levels of people suffering from any level of depression," said Dr. Carmen Russoniello, director of the Psychophysiology Lab and Biofeedback Clinic at ECU and the professor who oversaw the study.
"In my opinion the findings support the possibility of using prescribed casual video games for treating depression and anxiety as an adjunct to, or perhaps even a replacement for, standard therapies including medication," Russoniello added.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio