What is post video game depression?

As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided

In this blog we will discuss what post video game depression is. 

We will also discuss what are the possible reasons that cause post-video game depression and how we can cope with post video game depression. 

What is post video game depression?

Post video game depression refers to the feelings of emptiness, low moods, and sadness that one expereinces after playing a video game to completion. 

It is the same feeling that others often experience after finishing a book or watching a tv series. Readers call it a “book hangover” where as anime lovers call it PADS- Post Anime Depression Syndrome.

While this experience has different names and it is commonly experienced, it si not a recognised diagnosable condition. However, Academic research calls it post-series depression, or PSD.

According to a 2019 study by Kottasz, Bennet & Randell, this experience was defined as 

“…the feelings of melancholy and longing that can occur when an individual’s all-consuming film or screen product comes to an end.” 

This experience of Post series depression in the gaming community is known as the Post game depression and it is linked to what is known as parasocial attachment. 

Parasocial attachment refers to one sided attachments that one builds as they engage with something or someone else. Gamers form attachments with the game because they form attachments with the characters in the game as well as the world within the fame. 

These attachments are usually because our brain is unable to distinguish between interaction with real people and imagined worlds, so the brain registers both real and imagined interactions in the same way.

What this means is that even if we know that the gaming world and the characters are not real, we spend time with them, and as we spend time and effort- we get attached. 

When the game ends, the story is over, the characters are gone and we lose this connection. The loss is often monumental when the social connection we form with the game is an important aspect of your way to regulate your life’s- coping. 

The game ends, we have to unwillingly give up a positive experience and attachment that brought joy, comfort, and fun in our lives, and this loss can be devastating- leading to depression-like symptoms. 

What is post video game depression?

Why does post video game depression occur?

There is no conclusive evidence as to what causes post video game depression. Here are a few possible reasons that is suspected to cause it:

Grief

Most video games are often long with multiple hours, plot, , great character development, and all consuming story/ plot lines. 

These factors can cause viewers to become emotionally invested in the characters, their growth, their plot, and the challenges and victories they experience. All of this is a testament as to why video games has such a loyal following worldwide. 

Now, with this investment of emotions and time, when a series ends- it can lead to a deep grief of having lost something or of having something end. The experience of having something that has been with you for a long time and something that you have grown to love ends, can cause distress and deep grief. 

Often times, because the grief and loss is not well understood by other people who are not lovers of anime and who are not as emotionally invested as you are can cause you to question your own emotions, feel isolated, misunderstood and lonely, which can further make you feel worse, sadder, isolated, and low in mood. 

The experience of grief you feel is never isolated and can become worse- bordering on mental distress when the grief is not processed in a healthy and effective way.

Disillusionment

Now another reason why you might be struggling with depression, low mood, lack of motivation after ending a video game could be because this particular show that has been an escape for you from the mundane world that you live in is now over. 

This ending of an escape experience can bring about disillusionment in your own life about the way things operate in your own life, work, relationships, friendships, and also your own sense of self. 

The disillusionment might lead you to feel other emotions other than sadness such as anger, anxiety, stress etc due to the fact that the anime world that you have been part of for so long is not your life nor your existence and that loss can have a profound impact on your motivation to engage with the world outside. 

This can lead you to isolate yourself, no longer engage with your responsibilities and the people around you and the quality of your life can diminish which can further make you feel unmotivated and depressed. 

Underlying life dissatisfaction

Another reason that goes hand in hand with your disillusionment and grief is that the end of the video game is not the cause of your depression but rather it unveils what was already present- a deep dissatisfaction of your own life and yourself which is causing the depression.

It is to be said that most people who become invested in a series or a video game tend to use these creative mediums as an escape from their own lives which they find unhappy and might even be depressed over.

When a video game ends, they are forced to go back to this distressing lifestyle which is caused by deep dissatisfaction of their own lives which can cause their sadness, hoesslin, worthlessness and demotivation to be magnified, 

How can we manage post video game depression?

Here are a few ways that we can cope with post anime depression:

Join a forum

Now, gamers with large and also small followings usually have discord servers, subreddits, and twitter fan pages that garner a lot of following and interaction. 

Join a few of these forums and engage with the community that loves the same video game as much as you do. You can learn more about the video game, the creation of the video game, the studio that created it, the writers from these forums.

Forums also plan out various events surrounding the video game series and engaging in these activities can be a great way to experience and enjoy the love you have for this video game. 

Engage with other video game lovers

There are a lot of people who love video games. Engaging with gamers on various online websites, forums, chat rooms etc, can be a great way for you to meet with other video game lovers. 

Other Gamers can also help you explore the world of video games, get you attuned with more video games that are similar or different for you to engage with this creative world. 

Watch a movie or a series

Now, if you have done your best to engage with the video game and have milked the experience for all that it is worth, you can consider watching a movie, do something different other than play a game.

Watching something else does not mean you let go of what you love but rather what you love can open you up to a world that has so much more to give and this is also the same for anime. 

Go outside

As much as you love staying in watching anime, playing games, and meeting up with your virtual friends, if you find that your “depression” after playing video games has kept you in for too long and has isolated you to the point where you have forgotten how the sky looks like, it is perhaps time for you to engage with the outside world.

You can choose to meet your friends who may or you can go to a cafe and bookstore, go for a picnic with your friends in tow or, you can do things that are anime related or not related at all to video games. 

Do something else other than gaming

As much as you love video games, try to bring in some other aspects that you love and try doing them like meeting up with your friends who may or may not like video games, go to an art gallery, go to watch a movie that is not video games related. 

You can even hang out with your family, go for dinner with them, go for a walk, ride a bike, or go to the gym. Taking your mind off the video games world for a few hours can be a much needed break and also gives you a whole other appreciation of the gaming world.

Talk to a therapist.

If you notice that your mood has been low for more than two weeks consequtively, and it has cost you your ability to take care of yourself and your needs- eating, going to work, engaging with others, and even to the point of suicide and thoughts about death- it is advisable that you consider taliking to a professional. 

While low moods after playing a video game might be common, thoughts about suicide, utter hoplessness, social isolation persisting for more than two weeks is indicative of a larger problem. 

Talking to a therapist can help you figure out whether it is the video game itself or something more that is causing the depression related symptoms to arise. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what post video game depression is. 

We have also discussed what are the possible reasons that cause post-video game depression and how we can cope with post video game depression. 

FAQ related to post video game depression

Why do I feel depressed after playing video games?

It is to be said that most people who become invested in a series or a video game tend to use these creative mediums as an escape from their own lives which they find unhappy and might even be depressed over.

Can video games worsen depression?

There is no link between depression and video games in terms of a cause and effect relationship meaning that there is no conclusive evidence that  gaming worsens depression. 

Can gaming cure depression?

No, gaming can not cure depression- it might alleviate stress, anxiety, and other negative feelings as you game and engage with other gamers, however it is not a long term treatment plan for depression. 

References

Kottasz, Rita & Bennett, Roger & Randell, Tom. (2019). Post-series depression: scale development and validation. Arts and the Market. 9. 132-151. 10.1108/AAM-02-2019-0009. 

Natalie Schriefer. How to Cope With Post-Game Depression. WIRED. Retrieved on 19th April 2022. https://www.wired.com/story/post-game-depression/

Post-Game Depression Is Real, And There Are Various Ways To Cope With It. The gamer. Retrieved on 19th April 2022. https://www.thegamer.com/post-game-depression-coping-tactics/#:~:text=via%20IGN,re%20completely%20immersed%20in%20it.

Kottasz, Rita & Bennett, Roger & Randell, Tom. (2019). Post-series depression: scale development and validation. Arts and the Market. 9. 132-151. 10.1108/AAM-02-2019-0009. 

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]