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BRIEF COMMUNICATION
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 87-91

Views of practitioners of alternative medicine toward psychiatric illness and psychiatric care: A study from Solapur, India


1 Department of Psychiatry, Al-Ameen Medical College and Hospital, Bijapur, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Steps to Health, Showell Circus, Low Hill, Wolverhampton, WV10 9TH, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Prabhakar C Holikatti
B - 37, Ekta Nagar, Solapur - 413 006, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.161923

Background: It is common knowledge that patients seek treatment for psychiatric illnesses from various sources including the alternative medicine. Views and attitudes of clinicians often influence the provision of appropriate mental health care for these patients. In this context, it was intended to study the views of the practitioners of alternative medicine toward psychiatric disorders, patients and interventions. Methods: The study was conducted as a questionnaire-based survey among a sample of practitioners of alternative medicine specifically Ayurveda and Homeopathy, who were practicing in Solapur and adjoining areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka states in India. A semi-structured Attitudinal Inventory for Psychiatry questionnaire was used. Demographic and professional data were collected. Results: Out of 62 practitioners approached, 50 responded (80.6%). There were no significant differences in the views of practitioners toward psychiatry and psychiatrists based on respondents' gender, place of residence, location of practice, type of alternative medicine, exposure to psychiatric patients, or if they knew someone with psychiatric illness. Attitudes were generally positive, but variable. Among negative observations were that approximately 60% of respondents felt that a patient can be disadvantaged by being given a psychiatric label and 58% believed that emotions are difficult to handle. A considerable proportion (40%) of the respondents felt doctors other than psychiatrists were unable to identify psychiatric disorders. Discussion: This study's findings suggest that practitioners of alternative medicine have mixed views about mental illness, patients and treatment. Some of their negative views and perceived inability to identify psychiatric disorders may be addressed through further training, information sharing and collaborative work.


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