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RUNNING HEAD Original Work Research

Original Work Research

The Use of Antidepressant Drugs vs. Play Therapy in Pediatric Cancer Patients
Nisha Anbu
Independence High School

I research the pros and cons of using antidepressants versus play therapy in pediatric cancer
patients to relieve depression, stress and anxiety. I have made a research paper displaying my
research as well as my proposal for a play room specifically for teen, as well as the different
aspects of their room and how they will aid teenage cancer patients relieve stress.
My Research
For my original work I researched the pros and cons between the use of antidepressant
drugs versus play therapy to relieve stress and anxiety.

RUNNING HEAD Original Work Research


By definition, antidepressant drugs are medications that are used for the treatment of
major depressive disorders and other conditions including dysthymia, anxiety disorders,
obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, chronic pain, neuropathic pain and, in some
cases, dysmenorrhoea, snoring, migraine, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),
addiction, dependence, and sleep disorders. Although antidepressant drugs can treat all these
disorders, antidepressants cannot make one feel happy. What antidepressants do to change
ones mood is simply adjust the abnormally low levels of serotonin in the brain to lift ones
moods to a more normal level. Even though the use of this medication can treat moderate to
severe cases of depression, there are many side effects that come with taking these medications.
Some side effects include nausea, increased appetite and weight gain, loss of sexual desire and
other sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased orgasm, nausea, increased
appetite and weight gain. Additionally, research has shown that the use of antidepressants can
make one feel suicidal when first starting on the medication for those under 18. My research is
focused on the use of this drug on pediatric cancer patients, the fact that this drug can adversely
lead the patients to suicidal thought was an important piece of information that lead me to
disregard antidepressants as a possible treatment for this depression/stress.
Play Therapy is therapy in which emotionally disturbed children are encouraged to act
out their fantasies and express their feelings through play, aided by a therapist's interpretations.
Specifically, for pediatric cancer patients play therapy is used when the children utilise the on
campus, in hospital play rooms. although there are no real therapist in the rooms, there are
volunteers and parents available to aid the child. By allowing these children to play they are able
to relieve some stress, as well as allow them to communicate what they are feeling. Play therapy
can be very beneficial to these patients who are dealing with physical changes and emotional

RUNNING HEAD Original Work Research


issues. The main pros of this form of stress relief is that the children are able to improve their
communication skills, and by learning how to communicate properly they will then be able to
effectively communicate their feeling in order to benefit them. The main con with this form of
therapy is that it may not benefit all children, specifically, this therapy will work for the most
part with many patients, but because it is more specifically used for children it won't be able to
adequately aid teens.

Why Play therapy is better

After facilitating my research to see whether it would be better for pediatric cancer
patients to use antidepressants or play therapy. I have concluded that play therapy would be the
most beneficial option for these patients because it will be the much less detrimental to their
health rather than if they were to utilised antidepressants. Play therapy is the more beneficial
option because through the use of toys and playing, pediatric cancer patients will able to relieve
their stress from treatment as well as be better able to communicate their feelings to others.
Additionally, because of the extensive treatment process these patients are going through, they
will not be able to go to school on a regular basis. Through play therapy these children will be
able to still further developing their learning process and communication and cognitive skills as a
means of still being able to learn outside of school. Some examples of these certain types of toys
include dolls, puppets, puzzles, board games, arts and crafts, toy phones, houses, etc. Through
the use of these toys the patients are able to relieve stress and anxiety and are better able to
challenge their cognitive ability by playing board games and other challenging activities.

Play therapy for teens

RUNNING HEAD Original Work Research


Although play therapy is ultimately the best option to help pediatric cancer patients
relieve stress and communicate their emotions, the main concern with this method of stress relief
is that it is mainly targeting children. Although childrens are the primary patient age groups in
pediatric oncology/hematology, many hospitals that are tailored to treat pediatric cancer usually
also treat adolescent patients as well.
Primarily, play therapy and the methods used to help these patients will not adequately
aid teen patients. In today's day and age and today's generation, even smaller children utilize
some form of electronics as a means of learning. Whether that be through certain applications,
websites, or online learning programs. Similarly, with adolescents today their ultimate form of
stress relief is through technology and social media. Some forms of this stress relief include the
use of video games and television. It has been scientifically proven that through gaming can
relieve stress and depression. By playing video games for some time each day it can improve
mental health processes in some aspects. A 2010 study at Texas A&M conducted by Associate
Professor Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson showed that both men and women who play violent video
games long-term seem to be able to adopt mental skills to handle stress, become less depressed
and get less hostile during stressful tasks.In fact, Ferguson suggested that violent video games
could potentially be used as a form of therapy to help people find a way to work through their
frustrations in real life.
The main goal for this form of therapy is to allow the adolescent patients to feel
comfortable, relaxed and safe as they work out some of their issues. They will be able to express
their intrapersonal feelings in a more creative way. Unlike with children, adolescents are much
more difficult to communicate with in that they often feel embarrassed to express their feelings.
Additionally, adolescents will be better able to communicate their feeling and relieve their stress

RUNNING HEAD Original Work Research


when they are in a group setting. Therefore, by allowing teen to be with friend or other of the
same age group if will help them feel more comfortable and will allow them to communicate
their feelings better.

In order to address this issue of adolescents not being able to adequately utilize the
traditional form of play therapy, I am proposing an alternate method of play therapy targeted to
aid teenage patients. My proposal is to build/remodel a room specifically for teen in order to aid
them in the stress/anxiety relieving process.
The traditional play room at Children's Medical Center Dallas are currently used for all
ages and contain toys mainly targeted for children. After seeing what Childrens Medical Center
playroom was like, I used that as inspiration and designed a room only for teen in which they
will be able to play and relax in a comfortable environment.
This room will contain items such as a TV as well as multiple gaming systems such as, a
Wii and Playstation, as well as an array of different games. By having this technology readily
available it will allow patients to actively play with or against each other, therefore creating a
comfortable environment. Additionally, this room will also have many computer and ipad that
will allow the patients to also do some individual work and playing, whether that be catching up
on social media or maybe working on some educational work. By having ipads available this will
allow the patient to be able to create a more comfortable environment, because they can take the
ipad wherever they want. This will also help if the patient has any disabilities due to IV bags or
anything in that case. This room will also have an arts and crafts station or a collaborative
station. Here the patients will have an array of different art supplies that they can use to create

RUNNING HEAD Original Work Research


some art work they can change in the teen room, or take back to their patient room, or take home
as well. When I was at the play room at children's, I saw that they had many art supplies
including paper and paint, in which the patients could paint and let their artwork dry and come
back for it later. I want to use a similar method, but instead of only paper available to paint on,
this room will also have canvases, in that way the patient will more like an artist, and because
these are adolescent patients, their painting will be much more advanced than childrens,
therefore they require higher level materials. By having this segregated area, the patients will be
able to have some alone time to clear their minds, and they can also use this area to read books or
maybe watch something alone. Finally, this room will have an area for boardgames and other
games that require multiple players, games such as table tennis, air hockey, billiard, and foosball.
By having these games it will allow patients to collaboratively play with others and will allow
them to further feel less conscious of their physical state. There will also be an array of board
games that will allow patients to play games that are less load and more cognitively challenging.
When at the Childrens play room at Childrens hospital I saw that they did have many games for
younger aged children, like candyland, and snakes and ladders. In the Teen room there would be
more adult aged games like scrabble, taboo, and chess.
In order to get these supplies and furnishing for this room, it will be done by getting
donations from various stores and companies. Some stores include Toys R Us for the video
games and boardgames. Best Buy could be used in order to get the television screen and the
gaming systems. Apple could be used to get computers and ipads, and michaels could be used in
order to get the crafting supplies. The furnishing can be obtained from rooms to go, Ashley's
Furniture, or Nebraska Furniture mart.

RUNNING HEAD Original Work Research


Work cited
What are the benefits of Play Therapy? (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2016, from
Play therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2016, from
Play Therapy for Teens - Utah Association For Play Therapy. (2013). Retrieved February 09,
2016, from
Child Therapy Toys - GAMES FOR TEENS. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2016, from
Child Therapy Toys - GAMES FOR TEENS. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2016, from
Google. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2016, from
Play Therapy for Cancer. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2016, from
Children's Therapy: Pros and Cons. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2016, from