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Complementary and alternative medicine in major depressive disorder

Approved by the Joint Reference Committee, June 2009

  • 2009

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is a term used to represent a number of specific treatments with potentially high public health importance and benefits. That which constitutes conventional or mainstream
medicine is subjective and evolves over time. “Complementary” refers to approaches that are not considered mainstream or conventional, but are consistent with Western concepts based on the biomedical model. “Alternative” approaches are usually considered outside of the traditional Western medical conceptual framework. “Integrative” medicine refers to the combination of CAM and conventional treatments with the goal of achieving the best clinical outcomes for patients. CAM has also been defined as “a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine” (NCCAM, 2002).

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