Depressed, anxious older people turn more often to alternative medicine – TeleManagement


(TeleManagement) Mental state seems to be a factor in the popularity of complementary and alternative medicine, say researchers.
Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as herbal medicine, acupuncture or meditation, is popular among older people. A new survey from scientists at Wake Forest University suggests that depressed anxious older people turn more often to alternative medicine. But they do not use CAM for mental symptoms.

Previous work by this group showed that blacks and native Americans over 65 were more likely to use home remedies. But this new study did not show any differences between ethnic groups. Praying for health was also important to the study group of over 30,000 people over 65. As many as 81.7 per cent of those with anxiety or depression used prayer, compared to 65 per cent of those without. The researchers comment that mental disorders like depression among older people are too often accepted as part of the aging process – instead, they should be properly diagnosed and treated, whether by CAM or conventional medicine.

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