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The Use of Herbal Medications and Dietary Supplements by People with Mental Illness

  • Author(s): Niv, Noosha;
  • Shatkin, Jess P.;
  • Hamilton, Alison B.;
  • Unützer, Jürgen;
  • Klap, Ruth;
  • Young, Alexander S.
  • et al.

This study examined the relationship between herbal medication and dietary supplement (HMDS) use and mental health characteristics. Data are drawn from a national household survey of the United States’ civilian, non-institutionalized population (N = 9,585). Psychiatric medication and HMDS use, psychiatric diagnoses and treatment needs, utilization and satisfaction were assessed. Compared to non-users, HMDS users were more likely to perceive themselves as having mental health needs, to have received mental health and primary care treatment, and to be dissatisfied with their overall healthcare. Psychiatric medication use was not related to HMDS use, and in multivariate analyses, HMDS use was associated with perceived mental health needs. Differences in use of specific HMDS between those with and without a psychiatric disorder were also examined. The use of HMDS warrants particular attention in persons with perceived mental health problems as these individuals may be turning to HMDS use for treatment of their symptoms.

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