Talking: It’s Good for You

There is new proof that talking really can heal. According to new research carried out by a team working under Dr. Caroline Watkins, patients who suffered a traumatic event and then went on to be the recipients of “motivational interviews,” had more than double the chance of “being alive a year on compared with those who didn’t.” Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire also discovered that these same patients were “less likely to suffer depression.”

Talk It Out

So what are motivational interviews exactly? Individuals that have to change their behavior following a health problem engage in these, which are basically “talk-based therapies.” Depression often follows a stroke because patients basically have to re-learn to live in a different way, rendering huge amounts of adjustment for them. As well, the earlier this is caught, the better for the patient. According to Watkins, “early intervention helped people set realistic expectations for recovery, avoid some of the misery associated with life after stroke, and may even help them live longer.”

The Study

Over 400 patients (just over 50 percent being men) participated in the study. Most were around 70 years old. The study found that 48 percent of the patients who had engaged in the early, talk-based therapy, a year after their strokes, were reported to have had “normal moods,” as opposed to the 37.7 percent who didn’t have the therapy. In addition, the death rate was nearly double of those who hadn’t had the therapy (6.5 percent to 12.8 percent).

Therapy in this study began a month after the patient had suffered a stroke. According to Dr. Watkins, this, in and of itself, was quite revolutionary since “prior studies targeting depressed stroke patients have had limited success, but the depression may have already interfered with rehabilitation and recovery.” Patients were encouraged to work out their own solutions to any anticipated problems within recovery. The study omitted patients with “severe communication problems.” Watkins and her researchers believe however, that “it’s imperative that further research is supported to ensure effective methods of implementation are developed.” This data just isn’t adequate to be conclusive.