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Q&A: Integrative Mental Health Care

Q&A: Integrative Mental Health Care

Dr James Lake, Integrative Medicine columnist at Psychiatric Times, recently published a series of 10 e-books on integrative mental health care. His chief goal was to create a practical and affordable resource on safe and effective integrative managementof common mental health problems.

Laurie Martin (LM): What is integrative mental health care?

James Lake, MD (JL): In a few words, integrative mental health care emphasizes a person-centered approach to mental health and takes into account the needs, preferences, and circumstances of each patient. It focuses on maintaining optimal health and treating symptoms, not disorders. We use mainstream approaches—such as medications and psychotherapy—and complementary and alternative therapies. Practice is based on the best available evidence from both biomedicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

LM: Can you tell us who would be interested in your book series?

JL: The e-books are intended for both mental health providers and their patients. The first book in the series introduces important concepts and methods of integrative mental health care. The remaining 9 e-books briefly review the evidence for a variety of non-medication and integrative approaches that address mental health concerns and describe safe and effective strategies for implementing them in clinical practice.

LM: What are the areas of concentration?

JL: The books cover evidence-based uses of herbals and other natural supplements, mind-body approaches, and energy therapies for alcohol and drug abuse; anxiety disorders; ADHD; bipolar disorder; dementia and mild cognitive impairment; depressed mood; insomnia; PTSD; and schizophrenia. Each book contains concise summaries of CAM approaches, such as categories of treatment; how it works, natural supplement dosages, examples of safe and effective treatment combinations, adverse effects and warnings, and average duration of treatment needed to achieve beneficial results.


LM: How are the books broken down?

JL: There are several sections:

Understanding the problem. This section includes concise reviews of the causes and risk factors associated with the particular mental health problem being discussed. Typical symptoms of the mental health problem being covered are described together with medical or mental health problems that may occur together with that problem.

Taking inventory. This section provides a concise review of symptoms associated with the mental health problem being addressed and includes links to standardized assessment tools to assist clinicians or patients in determining whether symptoms are mild, moderate or severe.

Identifying treatments that make sense for you: evaluating the evidence. This section reviews the research evidence for specific non-pharmacologic treatments of the mental health problems covered in the series. It is the largest and most important part of every book in the series and provides the information needed to develop a treatment plan or advise a patient. Highlights for each treatment are summarized in easy-to-read bullets and links are included to permit quick scanning of the material included under a particular treatment.


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