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Video game EndeavorOTC designed to treat ADHD

Video game EndeavorOTC designed to treat ADHD
Video game EndeavorOTC designed to treat ADHD 02:49

SACRAMENTO – For people who live with ADHD, the simplest tasks can be difficult. So playing video games might be the last thing you'd think would make things better, but that's exactly how a new treatment works.

What if your doctor prescribed you a video game? Well, this one was actually designed to treat ADHD.

"This was built from the ground up to do something in the brain," Dr. Scott Killins said.

Dr. Kollins is one of the people behind EndeavorOTC. It's a video game that targets the parts of the brain involved in attention control. It's been in development for 10 years, went through clinical trials, and has been presented to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"The FDA agreed," Dr. Kollins said. "They reviewed all the clinical data and said, 'Yeah, you can actually market this to ADHD because you've done the work required to get there.' "

In the game, you have to pay very close attention and steer a character through a world while avoiding distractions.

"It's the combination of those things together that we know – from a lot of other research — stimulates the part of your brain involved in attention," Dr. Kollins said. "And because the brain is an adaptable organ, over time, just like other parts of your body with exercise, you can also strengthen neuro connections through using this treatment."

There are now two versions: a prescription version for kids and an over-the-counter version for adults.

"I really saw the immediate effects – not only day two, day three type of thing," Brian Watkins said.

Watkins is the executive director of the Californian Republican Party, which is a job that pulls him in a million directions. He also has ADHD.

"It takes extra time throughout your day to plan certain tasks, to make sure you're on top of your schedule, make sure you're on top of the things that need to get done," Watkins said.

When he heard about EndeavorOTC, he thought he'd give it a try. Needless to say, this is not your typical Mario video game.

"It's not fun. It's like fun going to the gym," Watkins said. "You know you need to do it. You know you need to take care of yourself, and the end results, they speak for themselves."

But Dr. Kollins said that even though it might not be the most fun you have playing a video game, it might be the most fun medicine you'll ever take.

"A big goal for us is actually to get people to think about this as a treatment that's delivered through a game," Dr. Kollins said.

They aim to show that the best medicine doesn't have to be in pill form.

Watkins said he's even been able to get off this ADHD medication because of the game. EndeavorOTC is available on major app stores. It costs $25 a month.

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