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Is Art Therapy a Recommended Treatment for Schizophrenia? by Tara Mandarano (Part. 1)

The main treatments for schizophrenia are therapy and medication. But experts are exploring what role — if any — art therapy has in helping to lessen your symptoms. Fewer than 1% of Americans live with schizophrenia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). That doesn’t sound like a lot. But if you or someone you love has this chronic mental health condition, you know it may be an ongoing challenge to manage. Finding the right treatment and medication is key — and so is sticking with it.

Schizophrenia is a manageable mental health condition. Medical treatments are always based on your specific symptoms and needs, though finding the right treatment can take a lot of trial and error to figure out.

The gold standard treatment for both conditions is taking antipsychotic medication and attending regular therapy. But is there another, alternative way to help treat symptoms? This is where art therapy may come into play.

Art therapy is when you engage in artistic activities that encourage you to express your innermost feelings in a creative way. It can be anything from musical engagement, visual art, dance, drama, or creative writing.

One of the main benefits of art therapy is that you don’t have to be “artistic” to have success with it. It’s been used as an add-on program for a long time. Combining the creative process with talk therapy often leads to positive outcomes. You end up feeling more self-aware and self-compassionate.

The majority of existing literature says there’s no clear evidence for using art therapy to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia, including psychosis. Yet other studies show that it might still be worth trying.

It has been deemed “low-risk” and “high-benefit.” It may not work as the main form of therapy, but it can still be incorporated as a complementary strategy.


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