Unit 7 Discussion- Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Mental Health Care – Solution

This article covers a nursing discussion about Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Mental Health Care.


Explore options for complementary and alternative medicine in psychiatric mental health care or functional medicine aspects that you could envision incorporating into your practice.  For this discussion, since this ends our psychopharmacology and prescribing course, keep your options focused on supplements, herbs,etc…   Include the following:

  • Diagnostic testing and assessments: 
  • Pharmacologic interventions: including dosage, route, and frequency
  • Mechanism of Action (MOA)
  • Contraindications 
  • Education, including health promotion, maintenance, and psychosocial needs:
  • Referrals: 
  • Follow-up, including return to clinic (RTC) with a time frame and reason and any labs that support your choice with at least 1 peer-reviewed article within the timeframe of the last five (5) years.

Responses need to address all components of the question, demonstrate critical thinking and analysis and include peer-reviewed journal evidence to support the student’s position.

Please be sure to validate your opinions and ideas with in-text citations and corresponding references in APA format.

Please review the rubric to ensure that your response meets the criteria.


Unit 7 Discussion- Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Mental Health Care

Mental illness is estimated to cause 33% of adult disability globally, with the World Health Organization reporting that only less than half of these patients receive treatment (WHO, 2017). Literature abounds indicating that while mental ill-health is one of the leading pandemics of the 21st century, a significant number seek complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) in most countries of the world (Wembrell et al., 2020).

In contemporary mental healthcare, CAM has considered treatment options that are safe, effective, and affordable. Consequently, this post aims at examining CAM options in psychiatric mental health care that a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner would envision incorporating into one’s practice.

Schulz & Hede (2018) define CAM as diagnostic techniques and treatment practices regarded as outside of mainstream and standard healthcare that include but are not limited to herbal medicine, meditation, yoga, massage, spiritual/ healing, and homeopathy. Others are like acupuncture and aromatherapy.

Diagnostic Tests and Assessments, and CAM Pharmacological Interventions

Diagnostic tests and assessments used in psychiatric mental health practice regardless of the approach the practitioner will use consists of a physical exam to rule our physical issues that could trigger the patient’s symptoms, lab tests like checking the patient’s thyroid function or drug or alcohol screening, and a psychological evaluation whereupon consultation the appropriate treatment is initiated.

Jones et al. (2019) observe that some of the most common lab tests used in CAM are live blood cell analysis, leukocytotxic tests (Melisa test, ALCAT test, Bryan’s test), food intolerance testing using food antigen-specific IOgG4 antibodies, and hair analysis for trace elements and minerals among others.

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Complementary and alternative medicine in mental health care
Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Mental Health Care

Once the PMNP has ruled out physical and organic causes to the mental illness, for example, depression and anxiety, one may opt to initiate a herbal medicine as the pharmacological intervention. In a study conducted by Liu et al. (2015), herbal medicine was a commonly utilized cure for a collection of mental disorders like anxiety, depression, and insomnia.

The herbal concoction is believed to have therapeutic value through various mechanisms of action in different systems. The ginseng herb is used as an antidepressant (Zanos & Gould, 2018). The researchers posit that the recommended dosage for Panax ginseng medication dosage is 75-300 mg/kg, with the water extract being administered orally at least twice a day.

The MOA of ginseng as an antidepressant is up-regulating dopamine and other related neurotransmitters by suppressing their reuptake in the brain. Doctors advise patients not to mix ginseng with a group of antidepressants categorized as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). This contract indication is informed by the rationale that taking MAOIs simultaneously with ginseng can lead to manic episodes and tremors.

Patient Education, Health Promotion, Maintenance, and Psychosocial Needs

The practitioner should also educate the patient on the benefits of ginseng to general and mental health. The patient’s involvement in non- pharmacological interventions like physical activities and having active hobbies like jogging or sports as health promotion activities would also help the patients meet their psychosocial needs.

In case the patient’s depressive symptoms do not lessen and instead worsen, the patient should be referred to a tertiary level hospital to get specialized treatment and hospitalization depending on the severity. The patient would be advised to return to the clinic after four weeks unless the symptoms or side effects worsen. Ginseng herb therapeutic benefits are expected to manifest in four weeks.

CAM continues to gain acceptance as a conventional approach to psychiatric-mental ill-health syndromes. Although not 100 percent effective, many CAMs interventions do alleviate human suffering by offering mental health services that are affordable and have been demonstrated to be safe and effective.


Jones, S. L., Campbell, B., & Hart, T. (2019). Laboratory tests commonly used in complementary and alternative medicine: a review of the evidence. Annals of clinical biochemistry56(3), 310-325.

Liu, L., Liu, C., Wang, Y., Wang, P., Li, Y., & Li, B. (2015). Herbal medicine for anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Current Neuropharmacology13(4), 481-493.

Ng, J. Y., Nazir, Z., & Nault, H. (2020). Complementary and alternative medicine recommendations for depression: a systematic review and assessment of clinical practice guidelinesBMC complementary medicine and therapies20(1), 1-15.

Schulz, P., & Hede, V. (2018). Alternative and complementary approaches in psychiatry: beliefs versus evidence. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience20(3), 207.

Wemrell, M., Olsson, A., & Landgren, K. (2020). The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) in Psychiatric Units in Sweden. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 41(10), 946-957.

WHO (2017). Depression: Fact sheetwww.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/

Zanos, P., & Gould, T. D. (2018). Mechanisms of ketamine action as an antidepressant. Molecular psychiatry23(4), 801-811.

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