Alternative Therapies for Psychiatric Conditions

  • Roseroot


    <p><a href=””>Roseroot (Rhodiola rosea)</a> has been used to treat nervous system ailments, including depression, muscle weakness/fatigue, altitude sickness, and Parkinson’s disease. Roseroot is often called an adaptogen, a type of plant that decreases cellular sensitivity to stress. It is believed to optimize serotonin and dopamine levels through monoamine-oxidase inhibition and its influence on opioid peptides.</p>

  • Reflexology


    <p><a href=””>Reflexology</a> dates back to ancient literature, and it’s currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity for the treatment of pain management and anxiety. The practice uses slight pressure on specific muscle areas of the feet and/or hands to stimulate blood flow and nerve impulses, which then trigger the release of endorphins and retained toxins.</p>

  • Saffron


    <p><a href=””>Saffron</a> is most commonly used as a spice, but it has been used effectively as a treatment for depression, Alzheimer’s disease, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Crocetin, a potent antioxidant and carotenoid found in saffron, is believed to be the cause of these effects. Crocetin acts differently depending on the condition: it inhibits beta-amyloid protein fibrillogenesis in Alzheimer’s disease, alters the regulation and expression of cytokines and inducible nitric oxide-synthase levels in inflammatory conditions, and shows possible antinociceptive activity.</p>

  • Hypnotherapy


    <p>When conducted by a trained therapist or health-care professional, <a href=””>hypnotherapy</a> can have viable clinical results for pain management, anxiety, psychosomatic illness, and behavioral disorders. Scientists are currently unsure what makes hypnotism effective, but they theorize that it may have to do with a decreased awareness of physical surroundings paired with an increased awareness of the visualizations from the hypnotherapist.</p>

  • Lemon Balm

    Lemon Balm

    <p><a href=””>Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)</a> can be used for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, indigestion, and other nerve-related conditions. Lemon balm supplements are made from its essential oil, found in the leaves. The oil contains terpenes, which cause its relaxing and antiviral effects, and eugenol, which calms muscle spasms, numbs tissues, and kills some bacteria.</p>

  • Yoga


    <p>The hatha and vinyasa forms of <a href=””>yoga</a> have been associated with positive emotional effects in patients with bipolar disorder. In a study, participants reported that yoga increased calmness, clarity of thoughts, and energy while reducing anxiety. Some participants felt that yoga increased agitation of their manic symptoms, so patients should be aware of this potential adverse effect.</p>

  • Omega-3 Supplements

    Omega-3 Supplements

    <p><a href=””>Omega-3 supplements</a> can reduce antisocial behavior in children. In a study, children who took an omega-3 supplement had significant reductions in parent-rated child externalizing behavior and internalizing behavior after 6 months. Parents of the children had significant reductions in parental psychopathy and reactive aggression, which then further contributed to reductions in their children’s antisocial behavior. Scientists are unsure how omega-3 improves behavior, but they do know that it plays a critical role in brain structure and function.</p>

  • Magnesium


    <p><a href=””>Magnesium supplements</a> can help induce rapid recovery from depression, improve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, and reduce hyperactivity in children with ADHD. Patients with schizophrenia and patients with migraines have lower magnesium levels than controls. Magnesium is important for over 300 metabolic reactions, and magnesium deficiencies can lead to a slew of complications, including insomnia, seizures, anxiety, pain, and other neuropsychiatric problems.</p>

  • Cocoa Flavanols

    Cocoa Flavanols

    <p>A drink containing the <a href=””>flavanols from cocoa</a> can improve age-related memory loss. In a study, participants randomly assigned to a high-flavanol (900 mg) diet performed significantly better on a memory test after 3 months than those assigned to a low-flavanol (10 mg) diet. Those who had a high-flavanol diet also showed improved memory after 3 months, compared with their own results at baseline.</p>

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Although pharmacotherapy can be effective in treating many psychiatric disorders, some patients may be looking for a more natural approach to supplement or take the place of other treatments. Many complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) exist for common psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and behavioral problems. If your patients ask about CAM, consider these options.

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