Writing is a form of expression. Writing comes in all different forms: poetry, speeches, lyrics, short stores, novels and many others. Some believe writing can be a form of therapy to express oneself. Eminem and many other artists use their lyrics to express anger and a dark past. Sometimes writing down one’s emotions can be a therapeutic way for venting.
Studies have shown that writing helps relieve negative emotions and can improve one’s health. According to the American Psychological Association: “A groundbreaking study of writing’s physical effects appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 281, No. 14) three years ago. In the study, led by Smyth, 107 asthma and rheumatoid arthritis patients wrote for 20 minutes on each of three consecutive days — 71 of them about the most stressful event of their lives and the rest about the emotionally neutral subject of their daily plans.
“Four months after the writing exercise, 70 patients in the stressful-writing group showed improvement on objective, clinical evaluations compared with 37 of the control patients. In addition, those who wrote about stress improved more, and deteriorated less, than controls for both diseases. ‘So writing helped patients get better, and also kept them from getting worse,’” Smyth said.
However, some researchers and doctors argue that writing about traumatic events may make matters worse and bring out more negativity than before, because the writing opened wounds. If someone is going through a difficult time, it may be best to practice therapeutic writing with a trained professional. The actual pen and paper is not treating the person, but rather the person is letting go of his or her emotions through writing. It is important to first understand the traumatic events, their effects, the reactions and accompanying emotions before writing therapeutically. If someone is not ready to accept his or her feelings, emotions and the events that led to them, writing will not be helpful.
To benefit from therapeutic writing, it is important to understand how to write in a therapeutic way and many trained professionals have specific writing exercises. Clinicians have found that using words that have a cause-and-effect relationship, such as “because,” “realize,” “reason” and “understand,” will show more progress, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Many great writing programs can help those in need. Just like any other hobby, there are positives and negatives to the therapeutic effects of writing.
For individuals who struggle with an addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, the Dual Diagnosis Helpline can help. Within the United States, the number of facilities providing high-quality, dual diagnosis treatment for both conditions simultaneously is limited. That is why we are here for you and your loved ones to help you get the help you deserve. If you’re seeking more information about dual diagnosis or require immediate treatment, you can always call 855-981-6047. Look for more blogs in this National Bad Poetry Day series.