Alternative Treatments

Many members have found alternative healing practices to be very helpful in their recovery. Herbal remedies, meditation, yoga and acupuncture have helped many people in their recovery. Alternative treatments are becoming more accepted in mainstream medicine as well. Some of these practices are being researched to determine their role in healing and recovery. Some have had excellent results, while others have shown little or no promise and even others may cause problems. If you decide to use an alternative healing practice to aid you in your recovery, be a careful consumer.

In the old model of care, people were passive recipients of treatment and relied on the experts to cure them. In the recovery model, members and professionals are partners, where the member takes an active role in his or her recovery. Members should adopt this same attitude when exploring alternative treatments. If you decide to try an alternative form of treatment, we recommend you do the following:

  • Do research to learn as much as you can about the treatment. Don't just rely on the recommendation of friends or family. Read books, websites and articles.

  • Talk to your mental health professional to find out if he knows anything about the alternative treatment that you are interested in. He may be able to give you more information. Your therapist may even be able to refer you to someone who specializes in a particular treatment.

  • If you plan to take herbal supplements, it is very important that you talk to the doctor who prescribes your medication. Most people believe that herbal supplements are safe because they are natural. This isn't always true. Some contain powerful drugs, which can interact with medicines that are used to treat mental health problems. Others can even be toxic if taken inappropriately.

  • Find out how much the treatment will cost. Many people are surprised to learn that some of these treatments are very expensive. Also remember that Medicaid and most insurance plans don't cover alternative treatments, and you will have to pay for them out of your own pocket.