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December 2019

Schweiz Arch Neurol Psychiatr. 1993 ; 144(6): 501-16.

[Alternative treatment of psychiatric diseases]

Pfeifer S.

Psychiatrische Klinik Sonnenhalde, Riehen BS.

This article gives an overview of the use of unconventional medicine in patients with psychiatric and psychosomatic problems. Frequently used methods are herbal remedies, homeopathy, acupuncture, various forms of massage and relaxation as well as a wide variety of unconventional psychotherapeutic approaches. Conceptually, these practices can be grouped into four categories: biological-pharmacological remedies, physical-energetic methods, esoteric-spiritual techniques and psychological treatments. Often patients use these methods on their own without contacting a provider, but also without telling their psychiatrist. A review of outcome studies shows that effectiveness is difficult to assess, as there is substantial controversy on the basic definition of terms and mechanisms. The use of complementary methods in psychiatric patients poses various questions including compliance and ethical considerations, demanding a high flexibility and integrative thinking in psychotherapy.


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