Dementia is a word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. People who dementia have significantly impaired intellectual functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. Memory loss is a common symptom of dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia.
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Research is pursuing a variety of promising findings for the treatment of dementia. Pharmacological interventions are available but have limited ability to treat many of the syndrome’s features. Little research has been directed towards non-pharmacological treatments. In this review the evidence for music and art therapy as a treatment is examined.
Previous studies from the Fundaci? ACE, Institut Catal? de Neuroci?ncies Aplicades in Barcelona, Spain, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have indicated that increasing brain activity, especially in regards to memory and cognition, may help stave off cognitive loss in people with Alzheimer’s.
Music and art therapy can help people with dementia revive memories and offer enjoyment. Art therapy can help them come to terms with their feelings by identifying and working through anger, resentment and other emotions. By drawing, a person with dementia who can no longer speak can show how he or she feels. This can give them some sense of control over their feelings so they can relax and relieve the stress.
Music can act as a stimulus to awaken buried memories, or evoke emotional responses which may otherwise be inaccessible. In this way, it may obtain results which might take weeks of more usual talking psychotherapy. It can be a useful route to healing for people of any age or background and it can be very valuable in the care of people with dementia. The part of the brain which responds to music is the most long-lasting, and a person may continue to be able to play or sing, to appreciate music and be calmed by it, after most other faculties have gone.
The value of the arts for human survival tends to be underestimated in our society. Song, music, dance, drama, and art have been the most fundamental and consistent forms of expression throughout human history, and very important to the survival of civilisations. They are essential for societies to thrive. In psychiatric settings, they may provide more profound and long-lasting healing than more standard forms of treatment.