Seasonal Affective Disorder Creative Therapies
Creative therapies such as music therapy, art therapy and dance therapy have all shown benefit as a treatment for depression however there is a lack of published clinical papers on the subject. Art therapy in particular has been used to both diagnose and treat depression for many years. Patient QI found no studies that were specific to Seasonal Affective Disorder however we feel that studies that show benefit to patients suffering from other forms of depression are valid in this section.
Music & Dance Therapy
Music therapy is a tried and tested treatment for depression. The most recent study that Patient QI found was published in March 2014. A Chinese group investigated the effects of Chinese five element music therapy on nursing students with a depressed mood and compared the results to a control group who maintained their normal lifestyle and did not have music therapy. The depressed mood states were measured using a self-report inventory and the stress hormone cortisol was measured using a standard salivary cortisol test. Results showed that after receiving music therapy the nursing students’ depression levels were significantly reduced and there was also a reduction in cortisol levels as compared to the control group.
Dance and movement therapy provide easy exercises with sensory stimulus and present an alternative to drugs for depression. A study published in 2011 examined the effects of dance on depression levels in college students. 120 male and female student volunteers participated in the study and the treatment group received dance training three days a week for 12 weeks. The control group did not receive any dance therapy and both groups were tested for levels of depression before and after the 12 week period. Results showed a clear reduction in levels of depression in the dance group as compared to no change in the control group.
Patient QI found a study published in 2012 that explored the value of participation in an Arts programme for helping the recovery process in people with chronic mental health problems. All of the participants had been treated with talk based therapies for persistent anxiety and depression and were in a phase of recovery. Results showed that the patients found the Art therapy helped in returning to normality, enjoying life again and setting goals and stopping dwelling on the past but did not feel the art therapy alone would help them achieve recovery. The study concludes that arts based therapy is a good supportive therapy to psychological talk therapies.
A small preliminary study published in Jan 2013 investigated the potential of creative activities to promote recovery from mental health. The study showed that participation in an open arts programme is likely to have benefits for mental health patients through improving wellbeing and social inclusion.