Psych Central

Alternative and Nutritional Supplements Articles

The Alternative Road to Health and Wellness

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The Alternative Road to Health and WellnessMany mental health professionals have long conceded that while temperament is inborn, personality can change a bit over time. Factors that can influence this susceptibility to change include variables such as family, genetics, environment and circumstances, which all serve to contribute to the shaping of an individual’s unique personality over the course of a lifetime.

One’s environment — which largely is controllable — is a major factor in achieving and sustaining happiness. In Spontaneous Happiness, holistic health pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil shares his secrets to finding happiness based on his own lifelong battle with depression.

Living with Extreme Sound Sensitivity

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

Living with Extreme Sound SensitivityIf you feel disgusted to the point of rage when you hear the sound of chewing, swallowing, breathing, throat-clearing and other common “people” noises, you’re not alone. You’re also not crazy. Misophonia is a sound sensitivity disorder, which makes certain noises intolerable to the sufferer.

Although this condition is primarily neurological, the experience of these sounds can cause psychological distress. The term misophonia was developed by Pawel and Margaret Jastreboff, American neuroscientists. Literally translated, it means “hatred of sounds.”

EMPowerPlus May Be Helpful in the Treatment of ADHD

Friday, February 14th, 2014

EMPowerPlus May Be Helpful in the Treatment of ADHDThere are many treatments available for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But for various reasons, the treatments available — medication or psychotherapy — aren’t going to work for everyone who tries them.

That’s why over the past few years, we’ve seen the growth of the micro-nutrient industry. Micro-nutrients are usually a proprietary blend of vitamins and minerals purported to help with various symptoms. One such micronutrient blend is called EMPowerPlus, and purports to treat a range of conditions. Its website claims that EMPowerPlus has been “proven effective in reducing or eliminating the symptoms of bipolar, anxiety, depression, and ADHD.”

So how effective is EMPowerPlus in the treatment of ADHD?

10 Foods That Can Help You Fight Illness

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

10 Foods That Can Help You Fight IllnessIt’s flu-fighting season and time to stock up on vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, B vitamins, selenium, zinc, probiotics, flavonoids, certain amino acids and fibers… or just eat the foods that contain them.

Here, then, is a list of the top 10 foods that also act as immune boosters — tasty chow with nutrients sure to power up your immune system this winter.

Need Help For Depression? Try Acupuncture Instead of Counseling

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Need Help For Depression? Try Acupuncture Instead of CounselingA study recently published in PLoS Medicine suggests a surprising new treatment for even severe depression — acupuncture. Yes, acupuncture.

In this randomized U.K. clinical trial, primary care subjects who received a protocol of acupuncture did even better than those who received a form of humanistic counseling for the treatment of depression.

So if all else has failed for depression, should you give acupuncture a go?

What to Do with Worry Thoughts

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

What to Do with Worry ThoughtsAll of us have negative thoughts. And we have “lots of them,” writes professor Mark Reinecke, Ph.D, in his book Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On: Twenty Lessons for Managing Worry, Anxiety and Fear.

And all of us worry about the same things, everything from work and school to health and relationships. What separates an anxious person from a calm one isn’t the content of their thoughts, it’s the connotation.

According to Reinecke, “The types of intrusive, negative thoughts that anxious, worried people experience differ little, however, from the thoughts of nonanxious people. The difference is in the meaning given to the thoughts.”

If you’re a worrywart, or especially anxious, you might think, “This thought is awful. I shouldn’t be thinking this; I have to make it stop,” says Reinecke, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and chief of the division of psychology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

But, as he points out, the more we try to squelch a thought, the bigger and bothersome it becomes. So how can you deal with these kinds of intrusive, troublesome thoughts?

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs for Insomnia: It’s Working

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs for Insomnia: It's WorkingIn January 2013, I started my acupuncture and Chinese medicine experiment. I was seeking help with my chronic insomnia and willing to try anything.

After 11 sessions and a few different Chinese herbal prescriptions, I still could not figure out if the experiment was working. I felt confused and wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue.

In the end, money made the decision for me. I decided that if I couldn’t make up my mind, it didn’t make sense to continue paying for sessions and herbs.

At the same time, however, I was not ready to give up the experiment completely. I was still feeling desperate for regular sleep and had exhausted all the standard approaches without success.

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs for Insomnia?

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs for Insomnia?Acupuncture is often touted as a “cure-all” for anything and everything. People seem to either think that acupuncture is an amazing alternative medicine or it is a placebo sham.

I first decided to try it in 2010 to see if it would be able to help ease my lifelong sleeping issues.

Usually I put a lot of thought into the medical providers I work with. In this case, I did not do any research into which practitioner I wanted to use; I simply chose the acupuncturist located one block from my house. It was certainly convenient, and seemed like a good idea at the time.

I recall those sessions as being strange. In addition to needles being placed all over my body, my sessions also involved smoke and fire. Sometimes, an herb would be placed on top of the acupuncture needles, then set on fire. Smoke was used in a procedure called “cupping” where glass jars were suctioned all over my back.

Top 4 Alternative Treatments: Are They Right For You?

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

Top 4 Alternative Treatments: Are They Right For You?Psychologists are increasingly integrating alternative and complementary treatments into their work with clients, according to a recent article in Monitor on Psychology.

So what is alternative treatment? You may already have some experience with the most popular, according to the Monitor on Psychology. Meditation, biofeedback, hypnosis and progressive muscle relaxation are all popular complementary or alternative psychological treatments. 

Although you may be familiar with the most popular, there are dozens of alternative and complementary treatments, which typically fall into four categories:  mind-body medicine, biologically-based practices, manipulative and body-based practices and energy medicine.

Can Fish Oil Help Your Brain – and Bipolar Disorder?

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Can Fish Oil Help Your Brain - and Bipolar Disorder?The people of Japan experience one of the lowest bipolar disorder rates in the civilized world. Compared to the 4.4 percent lifetime prevalence rate of bipolar disorder in the U.S., in Japan it’s just 0.07 percent. That’s no typo — that’s a crazy large difference.

The Japanese don’t live a less stressful lifestyle than people in the U.S. In fact, in the white-collar world, the stress levels are often higher and the people often work harder. The Japanese people live on a small, crowded island and rely heavily on imports to sustain their way of life. Japanese schools are results-oriented, and students spend an enormous time engaged in study.

So what gives? How come the Japanese have such a low rate of bipolar disorder compared with other high-income, developed nations?

In a word: fish.

Medical Marijuana: A Patient Perspective

Saturday, July 14th, 2012

Medical Marijuana: A Patient PerspectiveMedical marijuana is a hot topic that has slowly made its way into politics, health care, psychiatry, and education — into society itself.

Diverse opinions on either side of the many issues in our society are common; the people in power still argue about gay marriage and abortion, religion and taxes. It’s fair enough for people to take sides, but when it comes to medical marijuana, it is worth the debate.

Like all social and political issues that start slowly and suddenly catch fire, the opinions regarding the use of medicinal marijuana are exhausting., an accredited website that focuses exclusively on the use of medicinal marijuana asks the question: “Is medical marijuana an effective treatment for depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety, and similar mood disorders?”

Let’s find out.

More Coping Tips for Highly Sensitive People

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

More Coping Tips for Highly Sensitive PeopleI recently wrote about 10 tips for highly sensitive people. As a highly sensitive person (HSP) myself, it’s great to learn about all the different things I can do when I find myself in a noisy, overstimulating environment.

An important part of coping effectively as an HSP is knowing how to soothe your senses. HSPs aren’t just sensitive to loud sounds; we also might be sensitive to bright lights, TV and computer screens, strong odors and certain foods (and their temperature).

For the article I spoke to Ted Zeff, Ph.D, a clinical psychologist and author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide. Zeff includes a helpful chapter in his book on what you can do to calm each of your five senses.

Here are some of those valuable tips.

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