Mental Health And Complementary and Alternative Medicine
As our understanding of diseases has grown it has led to the realization that individuals vary in their response to treatment. This has led to the need for finding alternative approaches to treating them. Many treatments address specific symptoms and manage the disease. However, physicians and patients are finding that individual reactions to medications and treatments vary and can be frustrating for patients. Alternative and integrative approaches allow individuals to incorporate other methods of treatments that may help alleviate symptoms that may not be resolved by medications alone.
As the field of complementary, alternative and integrative medicine is a very new field, patients may not understand what is involved. It is always helpful to refer to your providing physician before incorporating changes to your health regimen. It is important to note that using complementary and alternative medicine or integrating these practices need not exclude current medical practices as it may enhance treatment. However, patients should always consult with their physician regarding the use of supplements and alternative treatments.
In the field of mental health, research indicates that a large proportion of patients develop psychosomatic complaints due to their reaction to stress and affects their overall sense of wellbeing. We tend to neglect psychological health and address only our physical complaints as they are more visible. However, as mind body medicine research indicates, what affects our physical health affects us mentally as well. In addition, when we don’t address psychological wellbeing it tends to take a toll on our immune system and creates stress.
More recently, research is pointing towards using “mindfulness” and yoga as alternative forms of treatment in improving the outcomes for chronic conditions or to prevent relapse. Mind body medicine is a field that utilizes mindfulness, mediation and yoga in conjunction with psychotherapy and medications to address health conditions such anxiety, depression, stress, asthma, high blood pressure, chronic low back pain, insomnia, fibromyalgia and cancer.
Complementary and alternative medicine can be a good resource for all patients in order to address symptoms in a holistic approach and complement conventional treatments. It allows patients and doctors to address patient’s symptoms individually. Collaborating with other clinicians and the patient allows primary care physicians the best possible outcomes for the patients’ over all well-being, which improves the quality of life for those who suffer from chronic conditions.
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