Recreative-Cultural Treatment in Alcohology

By Jagetic, Nada; Breitenfeld, Darko et al. | Alcoholism and Psychiatry Research, January 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Recreative-Cultural Treatment in Alcohology

Jagetic, Nada, Breitenfeld, Darko, Matosic, Ana, Breitenfeld, Tomislav, Mikula, Ivan, Golub, Izidor, Alcoholism and Psychiatry Research

Cultural treatment existed in psychiatry almost from the beginning. We can best prove that point if we consider the music and its healing power throughout the history of human race.1'23 Even in times of magical medicine, we find the important role of verbal-musical-dance rituals in maintaining the mental health of the tribe and treating certain disorders of psychiatric or significantly psychic aetiology. Later data, the written history, reveal some interesting therapeutic effects. Those were described in Homers great epics and then in works of Hippocrates, Pithagora, Plato, Aristoteles and others. Medieval history attributes almost miraculous power to various suggestive treatments, and to the music itself. Scientific medicine began not examining the real value of such treatment, especially in treating mental disorders (or those disorders which are caused greatly with mental factors), earlier than the last hundred years. Thus, after the initial disbelief in psychiatric treatment, in last 70 years, physicians gradually began to use organic, and then psychotherapeutic methods in treating psychiatric patients, especially alcoholics.

With alcoholics, and with the other patients as well, physicans noted the need to use all the time spent in the hospital to act beneficially on behalf of their patients. Thus, they created a total therapeutic approach, of treating their patients with whole therapeutic community, and started using more therapeutic approaches, more devices-medias, and started introducing various cultural approaches in treatment. Those new methods were used for education, reeducation, recreation (better to say - entertainment) and occupation (better to say - creativitiy). Pointing out the active role of patients in treatment within therapeutic community, we have to say that these methods are more present in alcohology, since there are more educational methods (mentioned earlier in the text), which are used to heal the changed personalities and behaviour of alcoholics who come to treatment.45

During 40 years of development of Department for alcohology and the whole University department for psychiatry of the University Hospital "Sestre milosrdnice"- Zagreb, more and more of those methods were applied and improved, especially in treating alcoholics and their families.6,7'8'9

Since the beginning, physical exercise was a standard method of treatment. Its aim is to readjust the body for physical activities, mild efforts and gymnastics working the muscles which were weakened in frequent Polyneuropathie and other neurologic disorders, which occured during long-term metabolic and toxic damaging of neural and locomotor system of the patient. Exercise, as a way of preventing further deterioration and treating present disorders, must be lead or supervised by work-therapist, educated in the field of "phystherapy" as well. The aim of a treatment is to start with smaller movements (never require to much of the new patients), and then to let the patients who, wanting to identify themselves with the majority, start to expand the volume of their exercise untili their reach the volume standard for all patients. Patients exercise in big groups, in the early morning. The exercise lasts 45 minutes and it is done on the playground of the hospital whenever the weather is fine and temperature above 5 degrees C. Mostly those exercises are done which enhance building of the muscles of body and upper limbs. Exercising is supervised and lead by one or few instructed and willing alcoholics - patients in the course of treatment. It is usually accompannied by some simple, cheerful music of quicker and simpler rhytm. We encourage also the other sporting activities, like volleyball, soccer, table-tennis, jogging, collective, club and family fieldtrips and even mountaineering, especially recommended by Rugelj. Here, the pleasure is derived in somatic sphere, with no passivity, and its consequences are extremely beneficial on mental and social plan. …

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