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Alternative Treatments for Mental Illness

Alternative Treatments for Mental Illness

Many people have become increasingly apprehensive of traditional healing methods which often rely on prescription medicine as the “go-to” treatment plan. The side effects and risk associated with prescriptions, and the desire for more treatment options has resulted in many patients actively seeking and using a variety of “alternative” modalities. For mental illness, several alternative healing modalities exists such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Reiki, hypnotherapy, Energy Psychology, Meditation, and Visualization. While generally considered “alternative” many of these modalities are the desired treatment for those who suffer with a mental illness.

Placebo, Prescription or Hypnosis

As a clinician, I have always been interested in alternative remedies. That is not to say that I am anti-prescriptions. I am for what works. I am for a reasonable balance between results and risk. If that means placebos, prescriptions, or hypnosis, if a person’s suffering is reduced or diminished then give the modality the benefit of consideration. I have seen many clients who genuinely seem to improve through the right blend of psychotropic medication and counseling.  However, I have also seen alternative treatments used with astounding results.

An Arm and a Leg

Sadly, many alternative methods are disregarded. Although often clinically effective, alternative treatments are often portrayed as “quackery”.  It is important, if not imperative that physicians, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies acknowledge and respect the healing capacities of alternative healing modalities. In fact, we can no longer afford to dismiss clinically sound healing modalities be it traditional or alternative. Estimated cost for mental health care is reaching the proverbial arm and leg threshold. From a purely financial perspective, politicians and tax payers need to stand up and take notice. According to a recent New York Times report, there are approximately 11.5 million Americans who receive mental-health services with an estimated value of $150 billion annually.  I suggest that alternative treatments are no longer just experimental hobbies for the tie-dye wearing hippie living in a commune. I am suggesting that viable, and clinically sound alternative therapies are for the millions of people struggling to find effective treatment.

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