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Art therapy recommended for schizophrenia

Posted Sep 22 2008 11:03am
Art therapy UK government advisers are to recommend Art therapy on the NHS for people with schizophrenia. This comes after the therapy has been recommended by complementary therapy practitioners for many years.

The National Institute of Clinical and Health Excellence will promote therapy that offers music, art and dance for the first time and activities will include playing musical instruments and creating collages.

Experts found Art therapy works well in patients who suffer withdrawal and a lack of motivation. The schemes will use art therapists to encourage creativity in those suffering with schizophrenia as well as their involvement in group activities.

Currently, art therapy on the NHS is available but services are limited. Dr.Tim Kendall of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health has helped put together a draft of recommendations.

"We have pulled together data from six different trials on several hundred people," he said.

"Dance, art and music therapy all seem to have a positive benefit.

"In Sheffield where I work it's available quite widely but some areas don't have the services."

Dr Mike Crawford, an expert in mental health services at Imperial College London who has carried out studies on arts therapy, said the therapies help people communicate.

"With psychoses, part of the problem is hallucinations and delusions and it becomes really hard to talk to people about them - and people become isolated because no one is listening to them," he said.

"Although there is evidence these therapies work we don't really know how.

"It's possible they work because they just bring people together and break the cycle of isolation.

"Other people have argued it's helpful because you are constructing something."

"While medication for schizophrenia can help tackle symptoms such as psychosis, medication alone fails to address some of the other problems people may experience, such as problems communicating and socialising with others," said Alison Cobb from the mental health charity Mind.

"Art therapy is a non-threatening and accessible therapy that can help people express their feelings without the need to talk them over."

Read about how Art therapy can help with mental and physical problems here

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