Using Psychosocial Therapy to Improve the Quality of Life of Patients With Neurofibromatosis Type 1: A Review
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Neurofibromatosis Type 1 is an autosomal disorder of the central and peripheral nervous system and affects 1 in 3000 individuals. Patients with the disease have a significantly lower quality of life than the general population. Many manifestations of the disease contribute to this discrepancy, including anxiety, depression, learning disabilities, and cutaneous and plexiform neurofibromas. In addition, due to the number of complications that are present, patients need to visit their neuro-oncologists regularly in order to ensure that they are in good health. This only adds on to the quality of life discrepancy by making patients feel as if the disease is truly taking control of their lives. There is no current cure for Neurofibromatosis Type 1, so symptom relief is a priority for the time being. Through a literature review, this thesis assesses the state of current psychosocial therapy programs and research related to improving the quality of life of patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 1. Incorporation of therapies such as the Relaxation Response Therapy, the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and the Creative Arts therapy have shown to have a significant, positive impact on the quality of life of patients with Neurofibromatosis Type 1 and patients with similarly manifesting diseases. These findings open the door towards developing new therapeutic programs that contain aspects of each of the three previously listed therapies in order to most effectively improve the quality of life of Neurofibromatosis Type 1 patients. Although twenty-four relevant sources were identified, there is still much research and development that must be done to continue to evaluate and improve complementary medicine treatments to better improve the quality of life of Neurofibromatosis Type-1 patients.