Impact of New ADHD Treatment
Game-based treatment for ADHD
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is among the most common neurodevelopmental disorders across the world. It has a prevalence rate of 5% worldwide among children below 19 years. The core symptoms include impaired attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Also, children with ADHD display functional impairments in daily functioning. For example, they may have challenges planning their homework. New ways have been explored to improve the treatment of ADHD to reduce the negative effects of the disorder on daily functioning and improve the quality of life. One of the newest treatment methods is the use of game-based treatment. A review of several studies on game-based treatment showed several impacts on people with ADHD. Game-based treatment for ADHD improves attention, working memory, and functional impairments such as planning and organizational skills, and enhances the motivation and acceptability of ADHD treatments among children with the disorder.
Video game-based treatment for ADHD improves attention, a core symptom of the disorder. Kollins et al., (2020), found that a game-based treatment for children with ADHD had positive effects on attention. Their study aimed at assessing whether novel digital therapeutics can improve attention in patients with ADHD. The digital intervention was identified as the AKL-T01 (EndeavorRX). It improved attention in pediatric patients. Clinicians and parents reported attention improvement with active intervention. The study shows evidence that the game can be useful in improving objectively measured impaired attention in children with ADHD with minimal adverse events.
Other studies also provide evidence on the positive impact of video game treatment for ADHD on attention. According to Penuelas-Calvo et al., (2020), video games for the treatment of ADHD reduces the symptoms of the disorder which includes impaired attention. A study by Davis et al., (2018), showed that digital treatment for ADHD improved attention in pediatric patients especially in patients with greater impaired attention. Study participants showed improvements in their attentional functioning. Rivero et al., (2015), also found that VGT improves impaired attention by facilitating the development of attention skills. Rivero et al., (2015), argues that digital games involve challenging tasks that keep the attention of the player. This leads to positive plasticity. This evidence shows that digital therapeutics may be more effective in addressing impaired attention compared to standard therapies such as pharmacological mediations.
Game-based treatment for ADHD improves working memory, a key symptom of the disorder. Davis et al., (2018) conducted a study on the outcomes of a novel digital treatment for ADHD. The study found that digital intervention showed improvements in spatial working memory especially among patients with greater symptom severity. Rivero et al., (2015), on the use of video games in treating ADHD also found that VGT improved working memory skills such as verbal working memory.
Digital treatment for ADHD improves other functional impairments. Bul et al., (2018), conducted a study to assess the effects of a serious game treatment on different subgroups of children with ADHD. This is an online computer game designed for functional impairments. It was developed by researchers, game experts, and healthcare professionals. People with ADHD were also involved. The study found that game-based treatment improved planning and organizational skills among children with ADHD. The study also found improvement in behavioral problems related to ADHD implying highly likelihood of the success of the treatment for the disorder.
Apart from pediatrics patients, researchers have also examined the impact of digital treatment for ADHD among adults. Such studies have found that new treatment enhances behavioral problems among patients with the disorder. For example, Tsimaras et al (2014), studies the effect of the digital interactive game on the symptoms of ADHD. The study found that the intervention reduced hyperactivity and impulsivity in adults with ADHD. Also, game-based treatment for ADHD enhances the motivation and acceptability of ADHD treatments. This is considering that the treatment is appealing to children. Davis et al., (2018), found that the video game-like format of the intervention improves children’s’ motivation and acceptability of other treatments. Tare necessary for effective clinical outcomes.
Although these studies provide evidence on the impact of game-based treatment, their limitations weaken the evidence. For example, the study on the novel digital intervention for ADHD focused on the effect of the intervention on impaired attention. However, this is just one of the core symptoms of ADHD. Also, the study does not answer all questions about the treatment including the right dosing schedule and the population group that would benefit the most from the intervention (Kollins et al., 2020). Other studies had smaller sample sizes for findings that confirm the efficacy of their findings. Additional research is required to clarify the impacts of this new treatment for ADHD.
In conclusion, studies show that game-based treatment for ADHD has four impacts. First, the treatment improves attention among children with ADHD. Second, it improves working memory. Third, it improves functional impairments such as planning and organizational skills. The treatment also enhances the motivation and acceptability of ADHD treatments among children with the disorder. It is because of such positive impacts that institutions such as the FDA have approved digital therapeutics for the treatment of ADHD among children. However, the limitations of these studies weaken the results’ power. Further research is required to clarify the impact of the game-based treatment for ADHD. Such alternative treatments are required to cater for the weaknesses of the traditional treatments for ADHD. Digital game-based treatment may improve access to ADHD treatment, and reduce the cost of care.
Bul, K., Doove, L., Franken, I., Oord, S., Kato, P. & Maras, A. (2018). A serious game for children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Who benefits the most? PLoS ONE, 13(3), 1-18.
Bul, K., Franken, I., Oord, S., Kato, P….Maras, A. (2015). Development and User Satisfaction of ‘‘Plan-It Commander,’’ a Serious Game for Children with ADHD. GAMES FOR HEALTH JOURNAL: Research, Development, and Clinical Applications, 4(6), 1-11.
Davis, N., Bower, J., & Kollins, S. (2018). Proof-of-concept study of an at-home, engaging, digital intervention for pediatric ADHD. PLoS ONE, 13(1).
Kollins, S., DeLoss, D., Canadas, E., Lutz, J…Keefe, R. (2020). A novel digital intervention for actively reducing severity of paediatric ADHD (STARS-ADHD): a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Digital Health, 2(4).
Penuelas-Calvo, I., Jiang-Lin, L., Girela-Serrano, B., Delgado-Gomez, D…Porras-Segovia, A. (2020). Video games for the assessment and treatment of attention- deficit/hyperactivity disorder: a systematic review. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 287(5).
Rivero, T., Nunez, L., Pires, E. & Bueno, O. (2015). ADHD Rehabilitation through Video Gaming: A Systematic Review Using PRISMA Guidelines of the Current Findings and the Associated Risk of Bias. Front Psychiatry, 6 (151). doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00151
Tsimaras, V., Papaioannou, M. & Proios, M. (2014). The effect of a digital interactive game in distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsivity in individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and intellectual disability. Journal of Physical Education and Sport, 14(4), 500-506.