posted by NanaKrustofski,
This Monday, Janne 'Gorgc' Stefanovski took an incrediby brave step and publicly joined an interview with a psychiatrist on Twitch. He talked with Dr. Kanojia about his mental health and problems related to playing Dota.

Good news travels slowly, bad news has wings

Mental issues are a disease everybody can suffer from. No matter the ancestors, social status or circumstances - they can hit anybody at any time. For example, according to the WHO, in 2015 more than 322 million people were suffering from depression.

But here is the tricky part: there is no universal cure, no medical solution, no true way to solve it. Everybody has to find their own cure and walk their own, dark path.

For a lot of people playing video games seems to be the solution, or at least an escape. Dota 2 can be a Guardian Angel - but also turn out to be a False Promise.

Same inputs, same outputs

One of Gorgc's goals was to "break the cycle", but Dr. Kanojia elaborated why there are more layers to that on Reddit. It would be like setting "winning your lane" as a goal, but the path is not as obvious as just farming better than your opponent. It requires diagnosing the problem, to understand why you're losing the lane in the first place.

You should not try to simply win the lane over and over again. "If you want to break the cycle, you can't think your way out of it, you have to experience your way out of it".

What motivates you to play Dota?

As Dr. Kanojia further explains, in Gorgc's case his sense of inadequancy is what drives him to work hard. People who feel like they were not enough are subconsciously urged to improve and give everything to achieve validation through their results.

Dota can help with your mental health, but also damages it

Video games are often used as an escape from real life problems, to calm down and distract yourself. Playing Dota can help with a lot of issues, but it can also have negative consequences. After collecting opinions on Twitter and from the Dota 2 Reddit Post about the impact playing Dota 2 has on depression, the general consens is:

  • There seems to be quite a difference in the effects multiplayer and singleplayer games have on your mental health. Singleplayer games seem to have a higher tendency of being actually good for your mental state, multiplayer more often seems to worsen the mood. Singleplayer can more easily distract you from reality and clear thoughts
  • Playing SoloQ often worsens your mood more than playing with people you know because of the toxicity of a competitive environment
  • However, Multiplayer is a really good way to have social interaction and hang out with people, because you are in complete control of how long you want to interact with others. You can always hop on the social train but also decide to leave immediately, unlike meeting people in real life, where leaving earlier can be a stressfull situation.
  • Multiplayer games can lead to really good friendships and relationships
  • Mulitplayer games can also be very dangerous, since you get easily trapped in Dota and neglect all your problems, instead of working on them
  • There is a very high risk of becoming addicted to escaping into gaming, because it can make one feel better. It is only a short time fix, not a long term solution

The full video of Dr. Kanojia and Gorgc's session can be found here.

How does playing Dota affect your mental health?

Photo credit: healthygamer_gg Twitch