Effects of sandplay therapy in reducing emotional and behavioural problems in school-age children with chronic diseases: A randomized controlled trial.
Nursing open. 2021;8(6):3099-3110
Plain language summary
Children with chronic diseases are more likely to suffer emotional-behavioural problems than healthy children, which can also impact the family. Sandplay has successfully been used as a therapy in children with autism spectrum disorder and this randomised control trial aimed to determine the effect of sandplay therapy in 62 children with chronic diseases and their caregivers. The results showed that sandplay reduced anxiety, depression, withdrawal and social behavioural problems and improved behaviour in children with chronic diseases. Depression and anxiety were also improved in the caregivers of those children who participated in sandplay. It was concluded that sandplay therapy is an effective clinical tool to improve several psychological domains in children with chronic diseases.
PURPOSE Children with chronic diseases exhibit a higher incidence of emotional-behavioural problems. Though sandplay therapy is a universally recognized psychological treatment method, experimental evidence for this form of therapy is lacking. Our aims were to examine the effectiveness of sandplay therapy in reducing emotional and behavioural problems in school-age children with chronic diseases as well as anxiety and depression in their caregivers. DESIGN AND METHODS A total of 60 children and their caregivers were enrolled in the present study between January and October 2019. A randomized controlled trial was conducted at the Children's Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, China. Participants were divided into an intervention and a control group. Both groups received regular treatment, and the intervention group received additional sandplay therapy. Four behavioural rating scales were used to evaluate the differences between the two groups. The children's scores on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ), Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS) before and after the intervention were compared using the Mann-Whitney test. The Wilcoxon signed rank test was also employed to compare the median results before and after treatment. RESULTS The total scores for CBCL, anxiety and depression, withdrawal, and social behavioural problems for children in the intervention group were all lower than the corresponding scores for those in the control group (p < .05). The EPQ scores for emotional stability and psychosis in the intervention group were both lower than those in the control group (p < .05). The SAS and SDS scores for the caregivers of children in the intervention group were also lower than the corresponding scores for those in the control group (p < .05). CONCLUSION Sandplay therapy can reduce anxiety, withdrawal, and social behavioural problems in school-age children with chronic diseases, as well as relieve anxiety and depression symptoms in their caregivers. Our study provided evidence for the clinical application of sandplay therapy and highlights the importance of offering and integrating psychological treatment in clinical nursing care.
Anxiety, Depression, and the Microbiome: A Role for Gut Peptides.
Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics. 2018;15(1):36-59
Plain language summary
Hormones released in the gut can have an impact in the brain through a bidirectional relationship, known as the gut-brain axis. The release of these hormones may be controlled by the gut microbiota, however exact mechanisms are not fully understood. Most hormones originating in the gut may have a role in obesity development, which is often associated with psychiatric disorders. Understanding the relationship between gut microbiota and depression through gut derived signalling molecules may be of benefit and was the focus of this review. Diversity and stability of the gut microbiota is important for health, which is disrupted during depression and anxiety. The gut microbiota serves to produce brain, hormone and immune signals that can travel to the brain, and can be affected by poor gut health. For those with depression, side effects of anti-depressants can be a disruption of the gut microbiota, however how this impacts symptoms is not fully understood. It was concluded that although there is strong research on the gut microbiota and depression it is still in its infancy. The role of gut microbiota on signalling with the brain and the rest of the body seems to be important for depression and anxiety. This study could be used by healthcare professionals to understand how the gut microbiota can play a role in depression.
The complex bidirectional communication between the gut and the brain is finely orchestrated by different systems, including the endocrine, immune, autonomic, and enteric nervous systems. Moreover, increasing evidence supports the role of the microbiome and microbiota-derived molecules in regulating such interactions; however, the mechanisms underpinning such effects are only beginning to be resolved. Microbiota-gut peptide interactions are poised to be of great significance in the regulation of gut-brain signaling. Given the emerging role of the gut-brain axis in a variety of brain disorders, such as anxiety and depression, it is important to understand the contribution of bidirectional interactions between peptide hormones released from the gut and intestinal bacteria in the context of this axis. Indeed, the gastrointestinal tract is the largest endocrine organ in mammals, secreting dozens of different signaling molecules, including peptides. Gut peptides in the systemic circulation can bind cognate receptors on immune cells and vagus nerve terminals thereby enabling indirect gut-brain communication. Gut peptide concentrations are not only modulated by enteric microbiota signals, but also vary according to the composition of the intestinal microbiota. In this review, we will discuss the gut microbiota as a regulator of anxiety and depression, and explore the role of gut-derived peptides as signaling molecules in microbiome-gut-brain communication. Here, we summarize the potential interactions of the microbiota with gut hormones and endocrine peptides, including neuropeptide Y, peptide YY, pancreatic polypeptide, cholecystokinin, glucagon-like peptide, corticotropin-releasing factor, oxytocin, and ghrelin in microbiome-to-brain signaling. Together, gut peptides are important regulators of microbiota-gut-brain signaling in health and stress-related psychiatric illnesses.