Art Therapy

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Teaching A Child With Mito To Draw

Pharmacological and metabolic interventions, endurance training, and toxic compound scavenging are just a few approaches currently used to tackle mito, yet one approach that is far less prevalent in recent studies, is artistic creation. Most therapies are focused on increasing ATP levels, but it is also vital to tackle mito from a psychological perspective. As stated in a 2018 study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, there is a strong link between mitochondrial diseases and depression: “Alterations in mitochondrial functions such as oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and membrane polarity, which increase oxidative stress and apoptosis, may precede the development of depressive symptoms.” Art, found in many studies to effectively reduce depression, may be of aid to kids with mito who wish to find the motivation required to embrace different therapies with greater zeal.

Art Therapy And Depression

Your child may find hobbies other than drawing or painting more interesting, but encouraging them to enjoy a couple of artistic sessions a week can help them battle depression. A 2016 Drexel University study found that making art at any level significantly reduced levels of cortisol – a stress hormone known as a trigger for anxiety and depression. The researchers reported that although creativity exists in everyone, they expected “that perhaps the effects would be stronger for those with prior experience.” Their results proved their hypothesis wrong – beginners and more advanced artists alike benefited greatly from just one 45-minute art making session. The participants in the study described the experience as relaxing and anxiety-relieving.

Where Should You Begin?

If you are into the arts yourself, then you may already be a whiz at aspects such as shade, light, perspective and proportion. If, on the other hand, these have always been a challenge to you, start out with beginners’ drawing guides, focusing on subjects your child will love. Kids are naturally drawn to flowers and animals, so they can learn to sketch a parrot, a toucan, or other colorful birds that will attract them with their vibrant colors. To draw a bird, you essentially need to create a round sphere for the head, an almond shape for the body, and a simple tail and wing. Of course, birds are just one animal to select; your child might ask to draw the family dog or any other furry or feathered creature they fancy.

Trying Out Art Therapy

Art therapy is currently used in a variety of settings to battle stress and to encourage children to communicate. If you notice your child takes to art like a duck to water, art therapy might help them reach their full potential. A 2017 study published in the Canadian Art Therapy Association Journal showed that although coloring books can help boost the mood and create a better sense of calm, drawing with an art therapist leading the session can result “in more empowerment, creativity and improved mood, which are significant for individuals striving to improve their quality of life and make lasting change.”

Art has been found in many studies to be a powerful way to battle stress. Because people with mito can be battling depression concurrently, it is important to find pastimes that can reduce stress in a natural yet powerful way. Art – whether carried out as a hobby or as part of therapy – can help lower stress, and also improve communication and cause greater mood improvements.

Article written by: Katlyn Perkins