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Complementary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Health Care

Edited by James H. Lake, M.D., and David Spiegel, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-1-58562-202-3
  • Item #62202

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The widespread use of nonconventional treatments, or complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and the increasing evidence supporting their therapeutic benefits call for a concerted scientific effort to integrate treatments that work into mainstream medicines.

Answering that call is the groundbreaking Complementary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Health Care, a concise, practical reference that reviews the many CAM approaches used in North America and Europe to treat—or self-treat—mental health problems, and the history and rationale for a variety of CAM treatments, including the risks and benefits of their integration into mainstream mental health care. Two dozen contributors with both conventional and nonconventional expertise present current information about safe, effective mental health treatments—including herbals and other natural products, stress management, homeopathy, Ayurveda, and traditional Chinese medicine—that have not yet been fully examined or endorsed by the institutions of conventional biomedicine. This book:

  • Covers background issues, including conceptual and historical foundations, emerging ideas and trends, safety issues, potential drug interactions and adverse effects, and medical-legal issues pertaining to use of nonconventional treatments in mental health care.
  • Reviews the evidence and offers practical clinical guidelines for the most widely used nonconventional treatments. Twelve chapters cover specific nonconventional modalities or alternative professional systems of medicine currently used to treat mental illness, addressing historical uses of the specified modality, significant recent research findings, unresolved safety issues, and evidence supporting use of the specified approach in common psychiatric disorders, from major depressive and bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and generalized anxiety disorder to obsessive-compulsive disorder, dementia, and sleep and substance abuse disorders. Practical clinical applications of complementary and alternative approaches are discussed throughout the book.
  • Closes with three appendixes and a subject and author index. Appendix A ranks evidence for the various treatment modalities by major psychiatric disorder and is cross-referenced with the material in Part II. Appendix B lists important Web sites, textbooks, professional associations, and other resources. Appendix C contains a glossary of key terms used in complementary and alternative medicine.

Written for both conventionally and nonconventionally trained mental health care professionals, Complementary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Health Care provides both an ideal reference for clinicians whose patients inquire about the uses of many CAM therapies and a critical, balanced review of the nonconventional modalities most widely used in Western countries to treat mental or emotional problems.


  • Contributors
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Background Issues
  • Chapter 1. Complementary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Health Care: Overview and Significant Trends
  • Chapter 2. Legal, Regulatory, and Ethical Issues
  • Chapter 3. Patient Safety
  • Chapter 4. Integrative Approaches
  • Part II: Review of the Evidence and Clinical Guidelines
  • Chapter 5. Western Herbal Medicines
  • Chapter 6. Nutritional Supplements
  • Chapter 7. Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
  • Chapter 8. Chinese Medical Treatments
  • Chapter 9. Homeopathy
  • Chapter 10. Ayurvedic Treatments
  • Chapter 11. Nutrition
  • Chapter 12. Physical Activity, Exercise, and Mental Health
  • Chapter 13. Integrative Medicine Treatments for Depression in Women
  • Chapter 14. Mindfulness Training and Meditation
  • Chapter 15. Religious Beliefs, Spirituality, and Intention
  • Chapter 16. Yoga
  • Chapter 17. Qigong
  • Appendix A: Supporting Evidence for Use of Complementary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Health Care
  • Appendix B: Glossary of Key Terms in Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Appendix C: Useful Resources for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • Index


    Iris R. Bell, M.D., M.D.(H.), Ph.D.
    Richard P. Brown, M.D.
    Michael H. Cohen, J.D.
    Brian J. Ellinoy, Pharm.D.
    Marlene P. Freeman, M.D.
    Andrew Freinkel, M.D.
    Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D.
    Rebecca A. Hill, M.B.B.S.(Hons.)
    Melanie Hingle, M.P.H., R.D.
    Christopher Hobbs, L.Ac., A.H.G.
    James Lake, M.D.
    Roberta Lee, M.D.
    Robert B. Lutz, M.D., M.P.H.
    Grace Naing, M.D.
    Pamela A. Pappas, M.D., M.D.(H.)
    Sudha Prathikanti, M.D.
    Jeffrey D. Rediger, M.D., M.Div.
    Carolyn Coker Ross, M.D., M.P.H.
    Ronald Schouten, M.D., J.D.
    Janet E. Settle, M.D.
    Priti Sinha, M.D.
    David Spiegel, M.D.
    Lauren Summers, M.Div. Candidate
    Julia Thie, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac., Dipl.C.H.
    Pamela S. Yee, M.D.

About the Authors

James H. Lake, M.D., has a private practice in Monterey, California, where he combines psychotherapy and evidence-based Western and complementary treatments for the spectrum of psychiatric disorders. Dr. Lake chairs the American Psychiatric Association's Caucus on Complementary, Alternative, and Integrative Approaches in Mental Health Care.

David Spiegel, M.D., is Willson Professor and Associate Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, and Medical Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center, Palo Alto, California.

This is a comprehensive textbook that will be useful to clinicians in primary care and mental health practice. Drs. Lake and Spiegel's integrative approach clarifies how complementary and alternative practices and substances can be incorporated into 'traditional' patient care. The book contains numerous chapters that provide great depth and will challenge clinicians to reformulate their approach to treatment. I found the chapters on Nutrition, Exercise, and Mindfulness particularly engaging, thought provoking, and informative.—Philip R. Muskin, M.D., Prof, Clin Psychiatry, Columbia Univ Coll Phys & Surgeons; Chief, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry, Columbia Univ Med Ctr; Chair, Am Psychiatric Assoc Council Psychosomatic Med

With relatively little in the way of printed material for comparative purposes, this book is seemingly unique and definitely informative. The chapters describing and explaining Non-conventional Biological Treatments and Spirituality, Mindfulness, and MindBody Practices: are the most educational, and the material was well balanced and fair in its assessment of the advantages and disadvantages regarding their use.[Complementary and Alternative Treatments in Mental Healthcare] is an excellent beginning, as it does not talk down to those less familiar with these modalitities and enables providers to open a realistic dialogue with their patients.—Doody's Book Review Service, 8/1/2007

Although all of these chapters provide the mainstream clinician with valuable information, they also contain some implicit values associated with Western psychology and psychiatry.—PsycCRITIQUES, 8/1/2007

This book gives an expertly written and concise introduction to a rang of complementary and alternative treatments in mental health and may sever as a truly inspirational guide to anybody wishing to expand the boundaries of conventional psychiatric practice.—The British Journal of Psychiatry

At least, a book about many of the newest ideas in psychiatric treatment focused on detailed aspects with clinical guidelines on particular treatments in complementary and alternative medicine! Lake and Spiegel have found astute chapter authors committed to the understanding of treatments previously considered strange, exotic, or quackery.—The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 8/1/2007

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