We can't say that any of the below frowned-upon habits will make you a better person on the whole. A regimen of all-natural foods and quiet meditation, free of all vices, is surely still the way to go if you want to live a long, healthy life.
Still, depending on what's wrong with you, the cure can often be found in the things your health nut friends warned you about.
5Violent Video Games Can Treat Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
We realize that we're preaching to the converted when we point out that violent video games are about as effective at turning children into murderers as Pac-Man is at getting them to eat fruit. But still, at best we think of games as a neutral force in society -- a harmless time-waster that isn't making things better or worse. And when we see a positive study saying, for instance, that women who play video games have more sex, we suspect that there might be some wishful thinking involved.
Via Wikimedia Commons
Though they are playing Sex-Haver 4: The Suckening.
But science says there is one benefit of violent games that you'd never have guessed in a thousand years: They can heal soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
And no, this isn't taken from some press release from Activision -- it's the result of work done by the Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth and Technology. It's called virtual reality exposure therapy, and it forces subjects to relive the traumatic experiences in a safer environment. It sounds like a form of torture, but it's actually one of the only ways to overcome traumatic memories.
Via Wikimedia Commons
A man overcomes the memory of his brother being killed in a tragic bowling accident.
The human brain needs to relive the worst events it's experienced in order to properly heal itself. Psychologists used to do it by having PTSD sufferers talk through the experiences over and over, but simulating the events takes the process one step further. The games have been proven to help release the stored anxiety as they, in essence, desensitize the soldier to the severity of the memories.
A recent study of Vietnam veterans found a 45 percent reduction in self-reported symptoms with the games. It also works for other people who have survived non-war related traumatic events -- for example, simulated driving games appear to help car accident victims get over the phobia of motor vehicles that sometimes results. Really, it should work for anything where exposure is needed to help a person get over their fears -- one clinical psychologist is using it to treat everything from a fear of flying to a fear of spiders. Damn, when the future arrives and space marine becomes a real job, this whole generation is going to be trauma-proof.
"An eternity of slaughter and the laughter of thirsting gods? Count us in."