Flipboard Magazine

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Writing Therapy

Writing  is a form of expressive therapy that uses poetry, storytelling, journalling, memoir, humor and narrative. Writing therapy is also used in music as songwriting; we hear a tale or story in most of the songs we hear. Writing therapy can help people to pour out emotions that they otherwise have trouble expressing and can help them to feel more control in their lives. It helps articulate and organize emotions.

Writing Therapy has been used in health situations to help people come to terms with abuse, disease, sickness, depression, and trauma. Writing can take place in individual or group therapy in person with a therapist or as remote or distance therapy through mailing, chat, phone calls, or the Internet. Writing therapy groups exist on-line, in hospitals in universities to aid student development. Distance therapy is useful for those who prefer to remain anonymous.  Assignments can range from writing unsent letters followed by imagined replies or a running dialogue. The oldest and most widely practiced form of self-help through writing is that of keeping a personal journalor diary. This can allow tormenting thoughts or emotions to escape on the paper.

There are several advantages of writing therapy and distance counseling. People can express their feelings while they are fresh, which gives them more freedom in a therapeutic relationship. The client may feel more active in his or her own healing process and they have a permanent record of the process. Distance therapy may also be cheaper for both client and counselor. There is no travel involved, and chat and email are usually free, requiring only a computer. Distance and remote counseling can also provide services for the disabled when they cannot physically get to a site for therapy. There are also sites where one can call a counselor to discuss issues that may be troubling and get some direction. One form of writing therapy that has become widespread are blogs. There are many that deal with tough issues and they are usually free to set up and write.

Expressive writing can improve mood and feelings of well being, which can lead to better socialization and behavioral patterns in a depressed person. Writing can also exercise the brain: improve memory, which can lead to better performance in school and on the job. People who are ill can share their experiences with others in a nonthreatening way and receive feedback and social support. Writing can also be nonstructured and follow few rules so people are free to express themselves on paper. They can emotionally soar, explore, or simply describe whatever they want. This nonhindering experience can be freeing in ways that traditional therapy cannot. Many have turned their words into books or narratives that help others by a sense of recognition
by readers. The fact that there is someone else who has had similar experiences can reduce the loneliness a person feels when they have too much to cope with.

Many people get started with journals and diaries and set aside a small amount of time each day to write. There are numerous free blogging sites and chats to get started on the Internet. For those that prefer writing longhand, all that is needed is a small notebook or just some paper. The important thing is to start writing and see where the journey takes you.

Journaling: Get your life and grow it!

Alzheimer disease is a form of dementia (loss of cognitive ability) that was noticed by Alois Alzheimer in 1906. It is recognized by three stages: early, middle, and severe, and is currently without a cure. It affects over five million Americans and over 26 million people worldwide. There are currently several medicines that help with symptoms and delay progression.

Alzheimer disease usually becomes evident in people over 65, but younger-onset Alzheimer’s can occur in younger people. These people can begin early stage Alzheimer’s in their 30s, 40s, and 50s. Not all older people get dementia; severe memory loss is not a normal aging process. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. It is progressive and interferes with the electrical signals in the brain so a person gradually loses all cognitive abilities and physical functioning.

Researchers have identified some risk factors for developing Alzheimer’s. The first is age; people over 65 are more likely to develop the disease. Second is heredity; people with family members who develop Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop it themselves. Head injuries and heart disease appear to influence the development of Alzheimer’s. Heart disease can lessen blood flow to the brain. Keeping active both mentally and physically in later life can reduce the risk of developing brain dysfunction. Early detection can make a big difference in quality of life for a person with Alzheimer’s dementia.

Symptoms vary with individuals but common behaviors may be confusion, aggression, hallucinations, restlessness, wandering, and insomnia. These behaviors may be noticed at home and may need further study by a neurologist, general practitioner, or a psychiatrist, who will complete a professional examination and referrals to another specialist if needed. Doctors will develop a treatment plan for dealing with behaviors and physical symptoms and prescribe medications according to symptoms. Medications can delay the progression of symptoms. With advanced Alzheimer’s, a physician may recommend additional professional care in the home or a professional facility.

The brains of people with developing Alzheimer’s progressively shrink and have less active brain matter. Changes in behaviors may be gradual at first and hardly noticeable. Eventually, Alzheimer’s  patients become less able to take care of themselves; they may forget to eat, bathe, or take medications, so it is important to plan for their care. Find reputable doctors and care facilities if needed and get help if taking care of someone becomes overwhelming. Sometimes it is difficult to understand Alzheimer behaviors so developing strategies to deal with them is crucial. Early detection can make the care process easier for the caregiver and also give him or her a better quality of life and peace of mind.


Science Daily. “Alzheimer’s Disease To Quadruple Worldwide By 2050.” http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070610104441.htm

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