For the first time, a computer game is officially approved as a medical treatment. Many children with ADHD got a clear improvement from their symptoms through a month of gaming with the computer game EndeavorRX.


Image: Screenshot from the game

This emerges in a case in the Norwegian news outlet


EndeavorRx further writes:

The developers of the American company in Akili have received the approval of the authorities when they now market the computer game under the slogan "time to play your medicine". 

Children with ADHD have difficulty keeping their attention focused on a task both at school and at home. Until now, the treatment has been medicinal, among other things, but now doctors, parents and teachers in the USA have been given the opportunity to use the computer game EndeavorRx as treatment.

In the case on, psychologist specialist Svein Øverland is interviewed. He is known for his work in developing digital tools for mental health work, among other things through the work with Superego.  


- A good sign

He tells 

This approval is a very good sign. I am convinced that this is a way to go for more suffering. The important thing is that this is a scientific confirmation that the effect of computer games can be measured.

They also write: 

The treatment is in practice an app that you download. It is similar to other games, but is only available by prescription. The game should only be used on patients aged 8-12 years with certain types of ADHD, and who have been diagnosed with attention problems.


RCT study

An important research report that has supported the effect of the game for young people with ADHD (aged 8-12 years), you can read this randomized control trial (RCT) study published in Lancet Digital Health.

In short, this study states that the game was intended to be a therapeutic intervention aimed at strengthening the ability to pay attention and cognitive control, through young people in the target group playing the game 25 minutes a day, five days a week, over a period of four weeks.

The results showed that the group that played the game in question had a significant improvement in their ADHD symptoms compared to the control group.

It was noted in the study in the Lancet that there is a conflict of interest, namely that Akili Interactive Labs sponsored the study. reports from the findings: 

After two months, 68 percent of the parents observed a "clinically significant" improvement in the children's daily attention problems.


From Good Morning America


Why does the game work?

Although it is an important point that the game could point to a positive effect, another key question is related to why one could assume that this game should have a useful value for young people with ADHD. writes about this question: 

EndeavorRX has not found completely new mechanisms to counteract ADHD. It is based on classic findings in behavioral psychology, which show that certain types of cognitive training have a clearly positive and measurable effect for various mental disorders.

- For example, we know that a depressed patient will feel better by looking through pictures of a lot of different faces to find one who smiles. The problem is that patients find it so unbelievably boring, and thus the treatment does not work. Through the games, we can use knowledge about ourselves to make ourselves more structured and motivated, says Svein Øverland.

Øverland adds: 

The treatment requires follow-up from professionals and is a supplement to other treatments.