The use of alternative medicine among Taiwanese psychiatric outpatients

Jan Jhy Pan, Bhi Yuh Chen, Hui Wen Teng, Mong Liang Lu, Winston W. Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The present study is intended to examine the use of alternative therapy and their help-behavior among patients who first visited psychiatric clinic in Taiwan. We recruited 150 patients from three general hospital psychiatric clinics. We collected the information of their demographic data, help-seeking behavior, and the use of alternative therapy, then screened them using Beck's Depression Inventory, Beck Anxiety Inventory, and World Health Organization's Quality of Life assessment. We found that 53 (35.3%) of 150 psychiatric outpatients visited an alternative therapists or received some type of alternative therapy at least once. Alternative medicine users were more likely to be married (P - 0.004), to suffer from more intensive anxiety symptoms (P = 0.018), to have visited more psychiatrists (P = 0.006), to have visited more clinics (P = 0.001), and to have taken longer between onset of the symptoms and their first visit to the psychiatric clinic (P = 0.028). Based on these findings we suggest that alternative therapy plays important roles in the help-seeking behavior of Taiwanese psychiatric patients, and that alternative medicine users tend to delay proper psychiatric care. Clinicians should inquire about patients' past history of seeking alternative therapy, build a firm trust in the doctor-patient relationship, and increase the compliance of psychiatric treatment in alternative therapy users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-716
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


  • Alternative therapy
  • Help-behavior
  • Psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • General Neuroscience


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