Surprising Treatments For Mental Disorders (Infographic)

Many thanks to Sherlyn Popper from for this helpful suggestion.

Alternative Mental Health Treatments

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  1. Hi, this was an interesting read, particularly as I’m from outside the US! I’ve used acupuncture before and it has helped with feeling calmer.
    I am currently using 5HTP rather than an SSRI for depression (which I’d been on for 6 years). I’ve been taking 50-100mg for 5 days and I can already feel the effects for my anxiety and depression.

  2. Normally I appreciate your blog, but I can’t forgo commenting on this post.
    There is no such thing as alternative medicine. There is medicine that works and medicine that doesn’t. Improving one’s nutrition, exercising, establishing regular sleep patterns, and avoiding stress are all fantastic ways to help manage mental illness.
    All of these others are basically placebos.
    The scientific research on acupuncture suggests that the benefit is from being poked with needles and the subsequent rush of endorphins, not anything to do with “energy flow”. The typical experiment on acupuncture involves a control group with a sham practitioner who sticks needles in wherever they like and a group that receives actual acupuncture. Unsurprisingly, the sham and the real acupuncture are about as effective. Acupuncture is fascinating, but, like the rest of TCM, it appears to work only as a placebo. Let me direct you to something more in depth:
    Homeopathy is an insult to everyone’s intelligence. The biggest problem is that it isn’t even physically possible. The idea has a long history, as it was published in 1807. Fun fact! Someone actually discovered a cure for malaria and the inventor of homeopathy thought it was false. Turns out, the cure worked.
    Here’s how homeopathy works: One takes something spiritually connected to the illness, mixes it into water, pours the water out until only a bit is left, adds more water, and repeats the process at least fifteen times. There is no evidence that the like would cure like in the first place. After it’s diluted, however, it’s completely impossible because there is none of the substance left in the water. Homeopathy is completely insane as a medical practice.
    There are psychotherapists who use hypnosis professionally. If you want to see one, go ahead, but know that hypnotherapy isn’t any more effective than CBT. In fact, CBT has more research behind it and greater reports of efficacy.
    The entry on biofeedback describes a therapy session. This isn’t an alternative medicine. It’s just a tool to use in therapy. Go for biofeedback sessions with a qualified therapist! Biofeedback sounds helpful, partly because it’s only adding to the existing treatments.
    And yoga’s excellent. Yoga could very well help with serious mental illness. It’s a form of exercise, it requires control over breathing, and it tends to relieve stress. However, it is not magical. The spiritual aspect is fine if you’re into that stuff, but it won’t help you recover.
    As for kava, it works a bit because it’s a sedative. It’s also known to cause serious liver damage. Why not just take anti-anxiety medication? Being natural doesn’t make kava superior. Anti-anxiety meds target the neurotransmitters responsible for anxiety. They seem to have more side effects, but that’s because there’s more research on them.
    As for Ayurvedic medicine, “[n]o significant scientific evidence has shown effectiveness of Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of any disease, although massage and relaxation are often beneficial and there are indications of health effects from some herbal products used.” I think that sums up the value of Ayurvedic medicine. Massages, a better diet, and exercise will be beneficial. Unfortunately, Ayurveda is based on spirituality and religion instead of being based on actually helping people. Remember that mental illness treatment in Ayurveda falls under the category of exorcisms. Huh.
    I actually hadn’t heard of reflexology. It sounds sketchy. It is. “The best evidence available to date does not demonstrate convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment for any medical condition.” Reflexology is a scam. Anyone who has passed high school biology should be able to realize that reflexology is offensively stupid. Essentially, pressing on certain parts of the hands and feet is supposed to affect one’s internal organs. I…don’t have a response for that.

    This post sounded long and angry. I’m sorry, but “alternative” medicine makes me angry. It’s all either superstition or complete balderdash that someone invented to make money. We deserve better.
    Get more sleep and sleep more consistently. Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol. Eat more nutritious foods, cut sugar, drink plenty of water. Exercise regularly. Avoid stressful situations, when possible. These are things that we can do to help manage mental illness. They aren’t perfect, though. When you are prescribed medication, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about your fears about it. Then take it. If you think your psychiatrist is making a mistake, see a different psychiatrist. At times, I, too, have been afraid of “Big Pharma”. The reality is that pharmaceutical business is weird but the medications are authentically helpful and backed by research. Nobody is trying to shove pills down your throat. Doctors and psychiatrists prescribe medication because they’re an excellent first step. They help people get back on their feet so they can focus on therapy and on lifestyle choices that tend to have more long-term benefit. For most people, medications are a springboard, not a crutch. Some people do need long-term medication, too, and that’s okay as well.
    Stick to therapy (especially CBT), managing your lifestyle, and take medications when they are prescribed. Please don’t fall into the predatory trap that is alternative medicine bullshit.

    • I’m sorry about that. I didn’t intend to make anyone upset by this post. I was just sharing this infographic for information purposes and because someone asked if I would share it. I agree with you. CBT therapy, lifestyle, and medications are the most important treatments, but some of these treatments can be good for some when accompanied by prescription meds and therapy. Not just alternative medicine/therapy alone.

  3. Great post, surprising treatments ..
    Getting back to old fashioned nice big communities where people hang out together with uncles and aunties and cousins and nephews and nieces is another great way for people to be integrated into society in a non-threatening way. It’s a win-win because it takes pressure of the carer(s) as well as the sufferer and many people often know more than just one.

    Love your site and it’s great to read that you seem to have a handle on your situation. Thank you for visiting.

    May you live forever!

  4. Pingback: Surprising Treatments for Mental Disorders (Infographic) « The Inner Limits

  5. Hello, I’ve only recently come across your blog but I find it really interesting because I find things like this really interesting. This is one of many reasons I’ve nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I know you haven’t uploaded in a long time so don’t feel like you have to do it, but I think you’re an inspiring person anyway. Rachel xx

  6. Thank you for following my blog. Wish you the best.

  7. For bipolar disorder – therapeutic dosing of cannabis sativa, abstention from alcohol, anti depressants and maintenance doses of mood stabilizers at generally one third the purported therapeutic blood levels seems to work for me. Note that there is major research being done into the inflAmmatory nature of mental illness and I would like to state that since acquiring an arthritis in my back and being on NSAID therapies I have had a lot more control and awareness of my mental states, successfully remaining out of the mentalcage for eight yeArs now, the approximate commencement of anti inflammatory therapy. Also I feel compelled to mention that naprosyn, pons tan or Voltaren are an over the counter medication, take some in small doses if you want to see their balancing effect.
    Also, fish oil, and vitamin D if you seen to be suddenly having more outdoor phobia . Kinda like agoraphobia but when you usually do not suffer from it. Sunshine gives us vitamin D but if u depressedly stay in bed for a week and the can’t get outside, a couple vitamin D doses seems to make me ,’unallergic to sunshin’ for want of a better term.

    • That was very informative and helpful, thank you! I like to look into natural treatments if I can.

      • Hi Kaitangata. I hope you’re we’ll. I’m learning to stay well through parenthood again right now! Fun fun fun;) treat bipolar disorder is so much fun when you are pregnant and beyond. It’s not the whole story not a comment and hopefully I’ll get to my blog and write it really soon. Have a great Christmas I’m going to the beach and will hopefully be updating my blog

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