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Music therapy for Schizophrenics

According to British scientists, symptoms of schizophrenia can be relieved by music therapy.//

Researchers from the Imperial College London conducted a study in 4 hospitals and found improvement in the symptoms of schizophrenic patients when they were encouraged to express themselves through music.

"We have known for some time that psychological treatments can help people with schizophrenia, but these have only been used when people are fairly stable," said Dr Mike Crawford, the author of the study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. "This study shows that music therapy provides a way of working with people when they are acutely unwell," he added.

In U.K. and the U.S., 1% of the population is affected by schizophrenia. This disorder affects during the period of around 17 –24 years. The symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, hearing voices and behavioral changes.

Atypical antipsychotic drugs are the standard therapy for reduction of symptoms. However, these medicines have side effects like weight gain, higher risk of diabetes and sexual dysfunction.

In this study, the patients were divided into 2 groups, one group received the standard therapy alone while the other received music therapy in addition. Music therapy included 8-12 music classes in which the patients were encouraged to express themselves with different musical instruments.

The results revealed superior improvement in the music therapy group. However, this study needs to be conducted on a larger scale.

"Music therapy may provide a means of enhancing the effectiveness of in-patient treatment by reducing some of the symptoms of schizophrenia that respond least well to drug treatment," Crawford added.

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