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Integrated Complementary Remedies

Only together can the various remedies for melancholy be effective, Burton insists. And since the last decade of the twentieth century, a worldwide increase in what are known as complementary and alternative medicine approaches (CAMs) has been observed (Frass et al. 2012). Even with growing endorsement of CAMs, the parallels between the approaches and practices prescribed in the Anatomy, and today’s depression treatments, are less than complete, however. In particular, complementary and alternative approaches are as often placed in contrast to the approach and remedies offered in mainstream medical settings as integrated within them (Rhead 2014; Eardley et al. 2012; Frass et al. 2012). Belying its original meaning, complementary medicine is construed as a replacement or substitute for more traditional approaches. Closer to Burton’s ideas are the “integrated” and “holistic” medicine that emphasize the synergistic effects arising out of combined approaches.[1]

CAMs and integrated and holistic medicine are widely found in many parts of medicine. The treatment of depression has been comparatively slow to adopt this model (although research initiatives are now beginning to assess its effectiveness) (Grimaldi-Bensouda et al. 2012).[2] And data on lifestyle and mental health have identified and apparently confirmed the treatment effectiveness of what are called therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLCs) along the lines Burton proposes for averting melancholy (Walsh 2011).[3] Holistic and integrated treatments still remain outside the treatment repertoire of modern psychiatric medicine, however, where, to repeat, the depression sufferer especially is more often depicted as powerless in the face of her disorder and, when the disorder is severe at least, too disabled to help herself.[4]

  • [1] “Integrated medicine” has been defined as combining mainstream biomedicine with complementary and alternative medicine, so that such effects can be attained (Dobos and Tao 2011: 11).
  • [2] Research on patients seeking treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders (SADD), designedto measure the effectiveness of more holistic approaches, found them comparable to the effects ofconventional (and homeopathic) medicine (Grimaldi-Bensouda et al. 2012).
  • [3] Lifestyle includes “exercise, nutrition and diet, time in nature, relationships, recreation, relaxation and stress management, religious or spiritual involvement, and service to others” (Walsh2011: 579). For a review of the effect of combined treatments on depression, see Pampallona et al.(2004). See also Stahl et al. (2014).
  • [4] Aside from mainstream psychiatry, several consumer-driven movements including the recoverymodel have more strongly emphasized these approaches, it must be added, although these will notbe discussed further here. See, for example, Jacobson and Greenley (2001).
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