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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Michael Easton, MD (Rush University Medical Center)
Description: This unique and needed book reviews what's known about the more popular and well known "natural" psychotropics and acupuncture for the treatment of psychiatric and related disorders.
Purpose: The book provides a reliable, concise, and comprehensive source of information for clinicians on the use of "natural" medicines in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. The authors and contributors are clearly experts in this area.
Audience: It will be useful to physicians interested in this area and be of value to psychotherapists, mental health clinicians, students, and individuals looking for a review of the scientific literature on alternative treatments in psychiatry.
Features: A general review of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in psychiatry as well as a discussion of the limitations of the scientific literature in this area begins the book. It then reviews better known agents such as St. John's wort, omega-3 fatty acids, SAMe, kava, and valerian, as well as a number of other substances, evaluating the data on their use in a variety of psychiatric disorders focusing mostly on mood, anxiety, and sleep, but also looking at studies in the area of cognition, PMS, menopause, weight loss, and addiction.
Assessment: This is a thorough account of the more common, better known, single herbal agents for the treatment of a variety of psychiatric conditions. The book reviews studies evaluating their efficacy, side effects, and drug-drug interactions. The only shortcoming is its limited clinical recommendations, mostly due to a lack of clinical research, but also due to the authors' reluctance to share their clinical experience with these agents. Overall, this is a notable book and anyone interested in this area should he familiar with the information it presents.