Healing Trauma Through Art Therapy

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Healing Trauma Through Art Therapy

Healing Trauma Through Art Therapy

Studies have shown that the life expectancy of people suffering from a mental illness is Solomon’s Secrets Review on average twenty-five years less than the normal life expectancy. This statistic is staggering. It is my opinion that the shortened life span may have more to do with the treatment of the disease, rather than the disease itself. In reality, there are many reasons for the reduced life expectancy in individuals, like me, who have suffered, or are suffering, from a mental illness, including the tendency to not take proper care of ourselves. However, one less-recognized and less-discussed reason may be the inappropriate care that we are given by the very people trying to help us live long, meaningful lives.

Since the discovery of the receptors dopamine and serotonin and the role they play in our mental health, research has focused on finding ways to pharmaceutically change the levels of dopamine and serotonin in our brain. The pharmaceutical industry has the financial clout and political influence to lobby for further research and the approval of drugs for the treatment of mental illness. On the other hand, there is no monetary incentive for advancing non-pharmaceutical modes of treatment. While there is promising research being conducted to examine the causes of mental illness, such as trauma and childhood experiences, as far as treatment goes, drugs are still the king.

The use of drugs to treat mental illness has resulted in adverse side effects, physical illness and disease, thus contributing to an already reduced life expectancy. For example, eating disorders, diabetes and liver problems may result from a prolonged use of drugs to treat mental illness, leaving patients with not only the stress of having a mental illness but also having to regulate and treat new medical problems. Not feeling well both mentally and physically plays a part in the shortened life span. That being said, we as consumers seem to find ways of endangering our own health. From smoking, using extreme amounts of caffeine, and using illegal drugs as a form of self-medicating, we work against ourselves.

During my brief stint as a caseworker on the ACT team, I noticed how prominent multiple diagnosis were among the peers I served. In fact, my work ended up going beyond psychosocial rehabilitation. Much of my time was spent managing doctors-visits and sorting through medications that consumers were taking. This took away from other areas that I feel are vital to recovery, like finding employment, peer services, therapy groups and other activities that give hope and a sense of responsibility of recovery to my fellow consumers.

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