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Child Psychiatrist /Adult Psychiatrist

Can Alternative Medicine Help Depression?

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

Alternative Medicine Help Depression? The signs and symptoms are well known, it is the most under-treated illnesses today. It is a general consensus that psychotherapy + medications are more effective that either treatment alone. Studies of antidepressants show that fewer than 1/3 of all patients achieve full remission after 8 weeks, which is a very long time when you have such severe symptoms. Approximately 1/3 are partial responders and 1/3 are non-responders. It is important to know the method of patient selection and definition of outcome in antidepressant studies which is why we don’t see patients being cured.

a group of pills in wooden spoons

The STAR*D trial from the NIMH reflected these similar outcomes amongst patients who were switched between antidepressants, which reflected that 60% to 80% of patients would not qualify for an antidepressant study. In most studies, the symptom reduction was 50%, reducing the disabiling affects of the illness, however not remission or fully functional.

Complimentary Alternative Medicine (CAM) can be a great adjunct treatment to help them closer to total remission (however is not guarantee, but a helpful natural option).

One factor that is a common cause of treatment failure is non-adherence, in which one study from Harvard found that 75% of patients were non-compliant with medications. A factor that influences non-adherence is not laziness but patients felt they good they were getting out of the pill was not worth putting up with the side effects. One of the challenges is testing the efficacy of CAM most rating systems and meta-analysis are not done for solo treatments

Source: How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health


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