Alternative Treatment for Phobias

Could alternative therapy work for you?

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Increasingly, mental health professionals and patients are turning to alternative treatment for phobias to augment traditional means. Phobias have historically been treated through a combination of therapy and medication, both supported by a body of carefully peer-reviewed medical research.

Although alternative treatments have not undergone the rigorous, controlled testing necessary for endorsement by the mainstream medical community, many people find symptom relief through alternative channels.

Of course, any alternative treatment should only be undertaken with guidance from a mental health professional.

Treating Phobia: Understanding CAM

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is an umbrella term used to describe a wide variety of unconventional products and practices. These techniques have grown in recent years and are now being used to treat a variety of both medical and mental health conditions. CAM techniques are considered “complementary,” to the more mainstream treatment options.

Here are some of the more popular alternative treatment for phobias and other anxiety disorders.

Hypnotherapy: Considered controversial in the medical community, many legitimate therapists use hypnotherapy as part of a larger program of therapy.

Hypnotherapy is based in the belief that phobias reside in the subconscious mind. By putting the client into a hypnotic state, the therapist can access the subconscious directly, without the interference of the conscious mind.

Clients are more open to "suggestions" made by the therapist.

Hypnotherapy treatments vary from guided relaxation techniques to regression (in which the therapist guides the client to confront the memory that originally triggered the phobia).

Homeopathy: A system of holistic medicine that was widely practiced in the 18th and 19th centuries, and which still has dedicated followers today, homeopathy uses minute quantities of toxic substances to treat diseases.

If you are considering homeopathic remedies for your phobia, please consult a homeopathic expert as well as a medical doctor. The substances used are extremely toxic and can cause illness or death. Homeopathic medicine is not widely accepted in the medical community today.

Herbal Remedies: These remedies, prepared from naturally occurring herbs, are increasingly popular, and some mental health professionals are beginning to acknowledge their usefulness. However, large-scale controlled studies have not yet been performed, so the long-term safety and efficacy cannot be guaranteed.

Popular herbal remedies for phobias and other anxiety disorders include

Dosages can vary widely between individual plants. The guidance of both a medical doctor and a herbalist is highly recommended as some natural remedies may have unwanted side effects if combined with prescription anxiety medications. In addition, natural remedies are sold without the stringent quality assurance precautions that are in place for conventional drugs.

Phobia treatment is an individualized process, and what works for one person may not work for another. Only you and your doctor can decide whether alternative treatment is right for you.

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