|Alternative Medicine for Emotional Healing|
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Alternative medicine should be the first medicine of choice in some cases for mood, emotions, memory, and brain power.
"Seek natural remedies for the mind"
Facts about Alternative Medicines
Interview with Dr. Sharma re. use of alternative medicine for emotional-psychological problems:
Lee: Why is there such an interest expressed these days in alternative medicine?
Sharma: We, Americans, want to return to our roots. Deep in our psyche we want to seek natural remedies, as did our ancestors. Why shouldnít we build up on the knowledge our ancestors acquired over hundreds of years about herbs, roots, and natural remedies? We can now synthesize the best of our ancestorsí knowledge and the latest advances of modern medicine.
Sometime natural therapies are as effective as the conventional drug of choice. Natural medicines are usually safe, often having little or no toxicity, and few if any significant adverse effects. Caution: they are usually safe, but not always. Excessive, inappropriate or ill-advised use of even the natural food or food supplements can be harmful to your health.
Natural therapies have arrived. The prestigious National Institute of Health now has an Office of Alternative Medicine on its premises since 1993. Harvard University and Johns Hopkins have started teaching courses in alternative medicine.
Why do we have to choose one or the other, conventional medicine or the natural medicine? Why canít we combine the two? Alternative medicine should be a complementary medicine in some cases and the main medicine in others. Strengthen your immune system, overcome bodyís deficiencies, increase efficiency and endurance of our organs with the natural resources, and use conventional medicine for and controlling the disease.
Why should we not take advantage of the latest equipment and scientific procedures to diagnose the problem and assess the extent of damage done to our body by a particular disease? Anyone, who wants to use mind-body approach, should use integrated medicine. Alternative medicine should be the first medicine of choice in some cases. We will greatly benefit by using natural remedies for the maladies of the mind.
Lee: How do you see the application of natural medicine in psychological-emotional problems?
Sharma: Natural medicine holds a tremendous promise for the future if we go about it the right way. It should be done in collaboration with a professional who believes in natural medicine for certain emotional disorders at certain levels of severity. Without such a collaboration, there is potential for trouble. For example, letís suppose "John" is depressed. A concerned friend or a relative of John prevails on John to take St. Johnís Wort. John takes it for a while but he is too depressed to persist with it for a sufficient length of time.
To continue with the example, in his depressive mode, John might, perhaps, believe that nothing can help him and therefore there is no point of trying anything. In the worst-case scenario, imagine John being suicidal. This can have serious consequences since no one has made a proper assessment of the severity of his depression. John, on his own, may quit too soon or his problem may be too severe to be treated with a moderate antidepressant. John may need a more aggressive or more comprehensive treatment including individual and family intervention. There is a danger that John may miss out on other therapies or expertís help that can work as complimentary aids to provide him the greatest benefit.
Lee: What is the "right way" to use natural medicine for emotional-psychological problems?
Sharma: You should first consult a mental health professional who is sympathetic to the use of natural medicine. If the discomfort is too severe to bear, the symptoms are disabling, or there is a suicidal risk, you should, at least for the time, consider conventional psychotropic medication along with counseling. Later on, once the severity and danger of the symptoms is reduced, you can turn to the natural medicine alternatives. By then, I hope that you have learned a reliable way to monitor your symptoms and have a plan in case of a relapse.
Beware of the tendency we Americans have for excessively depending on drugs. We should be careful of merely replacing our dependence from allopathic medicine to herbal medicine. Herbal extracts too contain chemicals, although, with much less potential for harm. Emotional disorders stem from the way we react to events, from our way of thinking, feeling, and perceiving people and the world around us. Drugs canít change all those attributes. Learn the psychological skills you need. Make changes in your way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that contribute to your emotional problems, such as those of depression, anxiety, anger, chemical dependency, etc. It would be a pity if we donít grow emotionally, and just manipulate the brain chemicals to reduce the felt discomfort. However, if a person is suffering from discomforting symptoms, notably, sleep disturbance, appetite disturbance, agitation, tiredness, or low energy, provided discomfort is moderate and not severe, herbal medicine may be tried along with counseling.
| Therapeutic Intervention