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Molly Pieri's picture

More on pharmacological vs psychological therapy...

In my research for my webpaper, an article ("Effects of Writing About Stressful Experiences on Symptom Reduction in Patients with Asthma or Rheumatoid Arthritis" in JAMA 1999;281:1304-1309 available for free on the JAMA website.) was referred to me by a friend which I think bears on the discussion we had in class about drugs v. therapy. The article describes the therapeutic value of journaling for patients suffering from asthma and/or rheumatoid arthritis. Patients of one group were instructed to journal their experiences pertaining to their disease while a control group did not journal. both groups were undergoing pharmacological treatment, but the group with also had psychological therapy (journaling) showed improved health over those who did not journal.
I thought this was a particularly interesting study. While we focused our discussion on what are considered primarily "psychological" disorders (depression, ADD, bi-polarity etc) this study focused on the benefit of psychological therapy had on primarily "somatic" disorders. For me, this really blurs the mind-body distinction.


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