Complementary and Integrative Therapies for Mental Health and Aging

July 5, 2016

There is a paucity of information on complementary and integrative therapies, especially when they pertain to the topic of mental health and aging. But that's all changed.

BOOK REVIEW

Edited by Helen Lavretsky,
Martha Sajatovic, and Charles Reynolds III;
New York: Oxford University Press; 2016
592 pages • $125 (hardcover)

Books on complementary and integrative therapies are rare, especially those that pertain to mental health and aging. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise to see this volume published by Oxford University Press earlier this year. This book has been thoughtfully edited by 3 of the foremost experts in the treatment of geriatric mental health disorders: Drs. Helen Lavretsky, Martha Sajatovic, and Charles Reynolds III. Together they bring to bear years of research and clinical and scholarly acumen into editing a resource for anyone who is interested in learning more about the evidence behind complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine for late-life mental health disorders.

The book is divided into 4 parts. The first 3 parts provide an overview of the biology of aging, disorders associated with aging, and various complementary and alternative therapies that can promote well-being and reduce stress. These sections include chapters on nutrition, herbal remedies, hormone therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic care, Ayurveda, homeopathy, yoga, and other approaches. In addition, there is a well-written chapter on resilience building and its benefits for successful and positive aging. The last section deals with integrative interventions of cognitive aging and mental disorders in late life.

All the chapters are written by experts who have stellar credentials. The well-referenced chapters are succinct, and the 2-column format of the pages makes them easy to read. In addition, excellent tables and figures highlight the data. Overall, the information is up to date and very user friendly.

The hardcover edition looks and feels like a real textbook. For those who prefer an electronic version, the publisher has made one available.

The only criticism we have is that the book is priced at $125. We think that at this price, some readers who might otherwise have bought the book would hesitate to purchase it. However, if you can look beyond the price, this book is a wonderful asset to anyone who cares for older individuals with mental health issues. It has something for everyone, including the lay reader, the expert researcher, and the seasoned clinician. This book is going to join our personal library, and we plan to use the information in it for improving the care of older adults with psychiatric illness and for educating patients, families, trainees, and clinicians on complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine topics.

 

This article was originally posted on 6/13/16 and has since been updated.

Disclosures:

Dr Tampi is Professor of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the Vice Chairman for Education and Faculty Development in the department of psychiatry at Metrohealth in Cleveland, Ohio. Ms Deena Tampi is the Executive Director of Behavioral Health Services at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut.