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How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health Care

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Many physicians and therapists agree that herbs and mind-body practices enhance health, but many more are reluctant to
integrate them into their clinical work because of a lack of training or, given how long it takes to master the use of hundreds
of different herbs, a lack of time. But the trend is clear: clients and consumers alike want control over their health care
choices, making the time ripe for a practical resource that guides both the clinician and the consumer on complementary
and alternative medicine (CAM).

This book answers that call. Three noted experts in integrative medicine, Drs. Brown, Gerbarg, and Muskin, demystify
the complexities of alternative mental health care, giving readers a comprehensive yet accessible guidebook to the best
treatment options out there.

From mood, memory, and anxiety disorders to ADD, sexual enhancement issues, psychotic disorders, and substance
abuse, every chapter covers a major diagnostic category. The authors then present a range of complementary and
alternative treatments—including the use of herbs, nutrients, vitamins, nootropics, hormones, and mind-body practices—
that they have found to be beneficial for various conditions within each category. For example, B complex vitamins and folate
have been shown to help with depression; omega-3 fatty acids can offer relief for bipolar sufferers; coherent and resonant
breathing techniques—used by Buddhist monks—induce healthy alpha rhythms in the brain to relieve anxiety; the elderly
can boost their memory by taking the ancient medicinal herb Rhodiola rosea; and those with chronic fatigue syndrome
can find comfort in acupuncture and yoga. Focusing on evidence-based approaches, the research, the authors’ clinical
experience, and the potential risks and benefits of each treatment are carefully examined.

Brown, Gerbarg, and Muskin have distilled an otherwise daunting field of treatment down to its basics: their overriding
approach is to present the CAM methods that are most practical in a clinical setting, easy to administer, and low in side
effects. With helpful summary tables at the end of each chapter, clinical pearls, and case vignettes interspersed throughout,
this is a must-have resource for all clinicians and consumers who want the best that alternative medicine has to offer.

464 pages, Hardcover

First published October 12, 2008

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About the author

Richard P. Brown

12 books4 followers

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Displaying 1 - 2 of 2 reviews
Profile Image for Amanda.
21 reviews1 follower
October 8, 2020
Really interesting! However, it was definitely written by clinicians for clinicians, of which I am neither, so much of the content went far over my head.
Profile Image for Annie Kate.
366 reviews15 followers
December 27, 2016

I first came across Brown and Gerbarg, a husband and wife team of psychiatrists, while researching alternative approaches to Alzheimer’s disease. Brown, Gerbarg, and Muskin, another psychiatrist, research and use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in all aspects of their practices, often in addition to standard pharmaceuticals.

This book, written for medical practitioners, concentrates on CAM treatments that are ‘most helpful in clinical practice, relatively easy to administer, and low in side effects.’ Because of its intended audience as well as its extensive review of the scientific literature about many aspects of mental health care and CAM, this is not an easy read. However, anyone with a background in biological sciences or medicine should be able to glean helpful information and to learn more using the many references and resources. Careful reading of benefits, interactions, and side effects of various treatments, as well as studying the many tables and the sequential lists of integrative approaches, can lead to useful alternative treatment options.

Conditions covered include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, disorders of cognition and memory, ADD and learning disabilities, life stage issues, psychotic disorders, and substance abuse, as well as medical illnesses. CAM treatments include nutrients, herbs of many kinds, various breathing techniques, and different forms of yoga. For medical professionals, ethical and liability issues are discussed as well.

As a support person and caregiver as well as a scientist, I learned a great deal about various aspects of brain health and CAM treatments for conditions beyond Alzheimer’s. The results have been well worth the effort. Of course, it is always preferable to have access to a qualified alternative medical professional, but such a person is often difficult to find and usually very busy. One can go far with an open-minded mainstream doctor, an educated caregiver, and this book.

If I ever become professionally involved in mental health work, I will definitely have this book on my shelves.

Disclosure: I borrowed this book from our library and have expressed my own honest opinions.
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