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Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine

Editor-in-Chief: Lui, Edmund

Ed. by Ko, Robert / Leung, Kelvin Sze-Yin / Saunders, Paul / Suntres, PH. D., Zacharias

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 1.41

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.472
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.564

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A Review of Side Effects and Adverse Events of Non-Drug Medicine (Nonpharmaceutical Complementary and Alternative Medicine): Psychotherapy, Mind-Body Medicine and Clinical Holistic Medicine

Søren Ventegodt / Joav Merrick
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2009-05-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1553-3840.1156

Background: Review of side effects of psychotherapy, bodywork (without high-energy manipulations), mind-body medicine, body-psychotherapy, sexology, clinical holistic medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).Method: We reviewed 857 records from a combined Medline/PubMed and PsycINFO search on “psychotherapy AND side effects" We also searched for “mind-body medicine," “bodywork," “body-psychotherapy," “clinical holistic medicine," “CAM," “sexology," “sexological examination," “physiotherapy," and specific side effects like “psychosis," “re-traumatization," “suicide," "hypomania," “depersonalisation," “derealization" and the drugs Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25), “psilosybin," “mescaline," “Peyote" and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methamphetamine (MDMA) for searches. We looked for all case reports 1950-2009 and studies that included data on side effects and negative events.Results: Non-drug medicine did not have significant side effects (NNH (number needed to harm)> 18,000) and the only severe side effect was rare, brief reactive psychosis, a temporary illness with full recovery (NNH >65,000). Non-drug therapy did not significantly cause re-traumatization, implanted memories, or induction of suicide (NNH>100,000). The most intensive psychotherapy enhanced with psychotropic (hallucinogenic) drugs had serious, but rare side effects and only for the mentally ill, psychiatric patients: brief reactive psychosis (NNH=556), suicide attempts (NNH=833), and suicide (NNH=2,500).Conclusions: Non-drug (non-pharmaceutical) medicine seems to be safe even for seriously physically and mentally ill patients and, whenever efficient, therefore recommended as treatment of choice.

Keywords: side effects; adverse effects; psychotherapy; bodywork; complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); integrative medicine; psychosocial medicine; body-psychotherapy; clinical holistic medicine; complementary medicine

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Published Online: 2009-05-12

Citation Information: Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, Volume 6, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1553-3840, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1553-3840.1156.

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