Alternative Medicine Resource, Fad Diagnoses, St. John’s Wort – 3 New Things

In today’s 3 New Things series I talk about:

1. What I Don’t Like – Fad Diagnoses in the DSM

Psychosis Risk Syndrome (AKA attenuated psychotic symptoms) and Temper Dysregulation (AKA disruptive mood dysregulation)

See, I’m not a scientist, and I honestly can’t tell you with any degree of certainty these conditions don’t exist or that they shouldn’t be specifically diagnosed. I just don’t think so, particularly as they may be pediatric diagnoses. The concern expressed in the article* is that these diagnoses have little scientific backing and will lead to yet a further increase in prescriptions of antipsychotics to children (and others) – and that I can tell you with certainty, that I am against.

There are many issues with the new version of the DSM, due out 2013, some positive, some negative, but honestly, if I started writing about them it would take until 2013 to finish. Best to take a millimetre at a time, I say

2. What I Do Like – Alternative Medicine Index from the University of Maryland

St. John's Wort no Better than Placebo in Treating Depression

From Wikipedia

I’m not a huge fan of alternative medicine, mostly because it, as a rule, doesn’t work. However, if you’re going to wander down that path, you need a reliable source of information and I believe the Alternative Medicine Index from the University of Maryland is it. Now, keep in mind, when you do a search for something you’re going to come up with multiple documents, and some of them are going to conflict, but nevertheless, it’s the best place I’ve found to look up the real information on alternative / supplement / herbal treatments.

3. What I Could Have Told You – St. John’s Wort Doesn’t Work for Depression

OK, technically St. John’s Wort doesn’t work better than a placebo in mild depression and earlier it was shown St. John’s Wort doesn’t work better than a placebo in moderately severe depression either. (There could be reasons for this, such as formulation and strength, but it’s what we know for now.)

Important – Please read the warning about using St. John’s Wort

(FYI, the studies were undertaken by the National Institute on Mental Health, a widely-regarded agency with (in my opinion) no conflict of interest here.) (Curious about mine?)

Until next week when I will learn more and try to do better.

* As always, the Psychiatric Times articles require a membership – but it’s free.

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