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50 Signs of Mental IllnessA Beautiful MindA Beautiful MindA Bright Red ScreamA Casebook of Ethical Challenges in NeuropsychologyA Corner Of The UniverseA Lethal InheritanceA Mood ApartA Research Agenda for DSM-VA Slant of SunA War of NervesAbnormal Psychology in ContextADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeAddiction Recovery ToolsAdvance Directives in Mental HealthAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAl-JununAlmost a PsychopathAlterations of ConsciousnessAm I Okay?American ManiaAmerican Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical NeurosciencesAn American ObsessionAngelheadAnger, Madness, and the DaimonicAnthology of a Crazy LadyApproaching NeverlandAs Nature Made HimAsylumAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderBeing Mentally Ill: A Sociological Theory Betrayal TraumaBetrayed as BoysBetter Than ProzacBetter Than WellBeyond AppearanceBeyond ReasonBinge No MoreBiological UnhappinessBipolar 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in AmericaCrazy Like UsCreating HysteriaCritical PsychiatryCruel CompassionCultural Assessment in Clinical PsychiatryCulture and Mental HealthCulture and Psychiatric DiagnosisCultures of NeurastheniaDaddy's GirlsDante's CureDarwinian PsychiatryDaughter of the Queen of ShebaDaughters of MadnessDeinstitutionalization And People With Intellectual DisabilitiesDelivered from DistractionDepression In Later LifeDepression SourcebookDepression-Free for LifeDescriptions and PrescriptionsDestructive Trends in Mental HealthDevil in the DetailsDiagnosis: SchizophreniaDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-IV-TRDirty Filthy Love DVDDisorders Of DesireDisrupted LivesDissociative ChildrenDivided MindsDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Optimum HealthDr. Weisinger's Anger Work-Out BookDSM-IV SourcebookDSM-IV-TR CasebookDSM-IV-TR in ActionDSM-IV-TR Mental DisordersE-TherapyEccentricsElectroshockEmergencies in Mental Health PracticeEmergency PsychiatryEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEmotions and LifeEmpowering People with Severe Mental IllnessEssential PsychopharmacologyEssentials of Cas AssessmentEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Mental Health ResearchEthics in Psychiatric ResearchEthics, Culture, and PsychiatryEverything In Its PlaceFamily Experiences With Mental IllnessFatigue as a Window to the BrainFear of IntimacyFinding Iris ChangFinding Meaning in the Experience of DementiaFlorid StatesFolie a DeuxFor the Love of ItForensic Nursing and Multidisciplinary Care of the Mentally Disordered OffenderFountain HouseFrom Madness to Mental HealthFrom Trauma to TransformationGandhi's WayGender and Its Effects on PsychopathologyGender and Mental HealthGenes, Environment, and PsychopathologyGetting Your Life BackGracefully InsaneGrieving Mental IllnessHandbook of AttachmentHandbook of DepressionHandbook of Self and IdentityHealing the SplitHerbs for the MindHidden SelvesHigh RiskHope and DespairHow Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow to Become a SchizophrenicHow We Think About DementiaHughes' Outline of Modern PsychiatryHumanizing MadnessHysterical MenHystoriesI Hate You-Don't Leave MeI Never Promised You a Rose GardenI Thought I Could FlyI'm CrazyImagining RobertImpulse Control DisordersIn Others' EyesIn Two MindsInsanityIntegrated Behavioral Health CareIntegrative MedicineIntegrative Mental Health CareIntuitionJust CheckingKarl JaspersKissing DoorknobsKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersLaw and the BrainLaw, Liberty, and PsychiatryLegal and Ethical Aspects of HealthcareLiberatory PsychiatryLife at the BottomLife at the Texas State Lunatic Asylum, 1857-1997Life Is Not a Game of PerfectLithium for MedeaLiving Outside Mental IllnessLiving with AnxietyLiving With SchizophreniaLiving with SchizophreniaLiving Without Depression and Manic DepressionLost in the MirrorLove's ExecutionerLoving Someone With Bipolar DisorderMad in AmericaMad TravelersMad, Bad and 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the SoulOf Two MindsOn Being Normal and Other DisordersOn Our Own, TogetherOn The Stigma Of Mental IllnessOrigins of Human NatureOut of Its MindOut of the ShadowsOvercoming Compulsive HoardingPathologies of BeliefPathways through PainPersonal Recovery and Mental IllnessPersonality Disorder: Temperament or Trauma?Pillar of SaltPoints of ViewPoppy ShakespearePosttraumatic Stress DisorderPsychiatric Cultures ComparedPsychiatric Diagnosis and ClassificationPsychiatric Genetics and GenomicsPsychiatric Illness in WomenPsychiatrists and Traditional HealersPsychiatryPsychiatry and ReligionPsychiatry in SocietyPsychological Dimensions of the SelfPsychology and the MediaPsychopathia SexualisPsychopathologyPsychopathyPsychotic DepressionQuitting the Nairobi TrioRaising a Moody ChildRapid Cognitive TherapyRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Soul in Health CareReclaiming the SoulRecollection, Testimony, and Lying in Early ChildhoodRecovery from SchizophreniaRecovery in Mental IllnessRedressing the EmperorRelational Mental HealthRemembering TraumaRepressed SpacesResearch Advances in Genetics and GenomicsRestricted AccessRethinking the DSMReviving OpheliaRewarding Specialties for Mental Health CliniciansSaints, Scholars, and Schizophrenics: Mental Illness in Rural IrelandSchizophreniaSchizophrenia RevealedSchizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion?Self-Determination Theory in the ClinicShunnedShynessSigns of SafetySilencing the VoicesSlackjawSocial Cognition and SchizophreniaSocial Inclusion of People with Mental IllnessSoul Murder RevisitedSounds from the Bell JarSpeaking Our MindsSpontaneous HealingStop PretendingStraight Talk about Psychological Testing for KidsStranger Than FictionStreet CrazyStudy Guide to the DSM-IV-TRSurviving Manic DepressionSurviving SchizophreniaSurviving SchizophreniaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaking the Fear Out of ChangingTalking Back to PsychiatryTarnationTeen LoveTelling Is Risky BusinessTelling SecretsThe Age of InsanityThe American Psychiatric Press Textbook of PsychiatryThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anger WorkbookThe Anorexic SelfThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Betty Ford Center Book of AnswersThe Bipolar ChildThe Bipolar Disorder Survival GuideThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Borderline Personality Disorder Survival GuideThe Broken MirrorThe Burden of SympathyThe Cambridge Medical Ethics WorkbookThe Case for Pragmatic PsychologyThe Center Cannot HoldThe Chemical Dependence Treatment Documentation SourcebookThe Chemical Dependence Treatment PlannerThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Condition of MadnessThe Construction of Power and Authority in PsychiatryThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Criminal BrainThe Cultural Context of Health, Illness, and MedicineThe Day the Voices StoppedThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Depression WorkbookThe Difficult-to-Treat Psychiatric PatientThe Early Stages of SchizophreniaThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe Employee Assistance Treatment PlannerThe Epidemiology of SchizophreniaThe Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality DisorderThe Essentials of New York Mental Health LawThe Ethical WayThe Evolution of Mental Health LawThe Explosive ChildThe Fall Of An IconThe Fasting GirlThe Forensic Documentation SourcebookThe Forgotten MournersThe Gift of Adult ADDThe Good EaterThe Green ParrotThe Healing Power of PetsThe Heart of AddictionThe Heroic ClientThe Insanity OffenseThe Invisible PlagueThe Last Time I Wore a DressThe Limits of Autobiography The LobotomistThe Madness of Our LivesThe Mark of ShameThe Meaning of AddictionThe Meaning of MindThe Medical AdvisorThe Mind/Mood Pill BookThe Most Solitary of AfflictionsThe Mozart EffectThe Naked Lady Who Stood on Her HeadThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe OutsiderThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe PDR Family Guide to Natural Medicines & Healing TherapiesThe Places That Scare YouThe Plural SelfThe Problem of EvilThe Psychology of Religion and CopingThe Quiet RoomThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Right to Refuse Mental Health TreatmentThe Rise of Mental Health NursingThe Roots of the Recovery Movement in PsychiatryThe Savage GirlThe Self-Help SourcebookThe Talking CureThe Trick Is to Keep BreathingThe Unwell BrainThe Virtuous PsychiatristThe Way of TransitionThe Wing of MadnessThe Wisdom in FeelingTheoretical Evolutions in Person-Centered/Experiential TherapyTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsThis is Madness TooThoughts Without a ThinkerThrough the Looking GlassTo Have Or To Be?Toxic PsychiatryTransforming MadnessTraumaTraumatic PastsTraumatic Relationships and Serious Mental DisordersTreating Affect PhobiaTreating Chronic and Severe Mental DisordersTreating Self-InjuryTreatment and Rehabilitation of Severe Mental IllnessTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersTwinsUnderstanding and Treating Violent Psychiatric PatientsUnderstanding Child MolestersUnderstanding DepressionUnderstanding ParanoiaUnderstanding the Stigma of Mental IllnessUnderstanding Treatment Without ConsentUnholy MadnessUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsUsers and Abusers of PsychiatryViolence and Mental DisorderVoices of MadnessVoices of RecoveryVulnerability to PsychopathologyWarning: Psychiatry Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental HealthWashing My Life AwayWhen History Is a NightmareWhen Someone You Love Is BipolarWhen the Body SpeaksWhen Walls Become DoorwaysWitchcrazeWomen and Borderline Personality DisorderWomen and Mental IllnessWomen Who Hurt ThemselvesWomen's Mental HealthWrestling with the AngelYou Must Be DreamingYour Drug May Be Your ProblemYour Miracle Brain
Two of the five parts of this book take up the bulk of the
615 pages: a guide to 51 alternative and complementary therapies, and a guide
to natural medicines. I am no expert on
natural medicine, so I am in no position to comment on the accuracy of the
information in the book, but simply having the initials PDR in the title
provides some assurance that it should be a reliable guide. The book also includes 16 pages of color
photographs of plants from which medicines are made, a discussion of the role
of alternative medicine in health care today, a guide to nutritional therapy,
and a treatment finder to help readers find their way about the book if they
are looking for specific information.
reviewing this book, I am comparing it with two comparable publications, The
Natural Pharmacist Natural
Health Bible published by Prima Health, and Time Lifes The Medical Advisor: The
Complete Guide to Alternative and Conventional Treatments. The most obvious distinctive feature of this
PDR Family Guide is its small size, smaller but thicker than most
paperback novels; maybe this is how the publishers keep its price so low,
making it far cheaper than its competitors.
But it is also the least user-friendly of the three books; the obvious
defect is that treatments are not organized according to their health
For example, if I want to know what
alternative medicine has to offer to relieve my stress, I need to look in the
back of the book to the list of treatments organized by illness, and I find a
list of 11 kinds of treatment in different parts of the book: Alexander
Technique on page 57, Aromatherapy on page 65, massage therapy on page 181,
rolfing on page 231, and so on. It
means that you have to do a lot of flipping around, consulting the index again
and again. If I want to know about
natural medicines for stress, it at first seems that I am out of luck, because
Stress is not listed in the list of Natural Medicines Indexed by
Illness. Theres nothing under
Anxiety either. Its only when I
search through the list and find Nervousness that I find a useful looking
list: Kava on page 410, Passion Flower on page 459, Valerian on page 525. It seems that the people who organized the
different indexes did not consult with each other, and indeed nervousness is
a rather old-fashioned word, reminiscent of the nineteenth century. I do not remember the last time I heard someone
describe himself or herself as suffering from nervousness.
explanations of different kinds of treatment are helpful. For instance, the description of the
Alexander Technique explains that it is a method of getting the bodys muscles
back into harmony and can be helpful for a wide range of problems. The entry explains that there is no
scientific proof that it is helpful but that many people vouch for its
effectiveness. The entry goes on to
explain how the treatment is given, how long it should take, how often it
should be given, how many sessions it might take, and how it differs from other
related treatments. It assures the
reader that there are no known dangers of the treatment, and gives information
about how to find therapists and ways to ensure that the therapist is a
legitimate operator. It gives the
addresses and phone numbers of two main organizations (but no web addresses or
e-mail addresses) and a short list of further reading. The whole entry is less than three pages; it
is written in clear language and seems to provide a useful starting place if I
wanted to explore this treatment.
Health Bible has no information about the Alexander Technique or most other
non-medicinal therapies; for stress, its main entry says the principle proposed
treatment is ginseng. The Medical
Advisor has only one short entry on the Alexander Technique; for stress,
its main entry explains that the main conventional treatments are antianxiety
drugs and psychotherapy, and the main alternative choices are aromatherapy,
body work, herbal therapies, exercise, and mind/body medicine such as yoga and
biofeedback. It also has
recommendations about how to prevent becoming stressed in the first place. But the information it does give about each
individual treatment is rather sketchy, and it does not point the reader where
to go to look if he or she wants to learn more. It seems that the PDR Family Guide gives the most complete
information about alternative treatments for stress, but it is hard to use the
information or compare the different treatments, and it places little emphasis
on lifestyle changes. If I was looking
for information about stress relief, Id probably want to use a combination of
these two books, and then Id probably go to the Internet to see what else I
Id want to try some alternative medicinal therapy. Strangely, the PDR guide does not even list ginseng as a
treatment for nervousness, and its entry for ginseng says that it is used to
treat fatigue. It has information about
how to prepare ginseng, typical dosages, and the dangers of overdosage. In contrast, the Natural Health Bible
has pages of discussion of ginseng both in its Stress entry and also in its
separate listing of herbs and supplements.
It explains what ginseng does, what the scientific studies show, dosage,
and safety issues. This is also far
more comprehensive than the listing for ginseng in The Medical Advisor,
which simply has a brief listing of the root, the target ailments (Chinese and
Western), preparations and side effects.
I like the PDR
Family Guide for its comprehensiveness and its readiness to point out the
weaknesses of some alternative treatments.
For instance, I have a friend who used to periodically fast for several
days to clean out her system. But the Guide
says that although fasting can be useful for temporary weight loss, it is not
good as a long-term weight control method, and theres no evidence that it has
any long-term therapeutic effects.
Indeed, it can be dangerous.
Neither of the other two books I am comparing the Guide with have
any significant information about fasting.
In sum, the
PDR Family Guide is an excellent resource and great value. Its main weakness is that it is hard to use
if one is simply looking for the best treatment for a particular problem. Its more useful if one is looking for
information about particular treatments.
It would be greatly improved if a single comprehensive index were added.
Medical Advisor: The Complete Guide to Alternative and Conventional Treatments
© 2002 Christian Perring. First Serial Rights.
Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College,
Long Island. He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in psychiatry.
He is especially interested in exploring how philosophers can
play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help foster
communication between philosophers, mental health professionals,
and the general public.