Alternative and Complementary Therapies in the Treatment of Eating Disorders, Addictions, and Substance Use Disorders

  • Sloane MaddenEmail author
  • Sarah Fogarty
  • Caroline Smith


Research over the past decade into eating disorders and substance use disorders has been considerable. Despite this, response to treatment for many remains poor. New adjunctive therapies that improve the effectiveness of existing treatments and lead to improved mental health outcomes for these patient groups are highly desirable. Recent research into the role of complementary and alternative medicine in eating disorders and substance use disorders has responded not only to the need to improve treatment outcomes but also to the common usage of complimentary therapies by individuals with these disorders. While still in its early stages, research into different types of complimentary therapies including yoga, acupuncture, therapeutic massage, hypnosis, herbal medicine, light therapy, spiritual healing, and art therapy has shown promise both in addressing not only comorbid anxiety and depression but also core disorder symptoms. It is therefore critical that these therapies are rigorously evaluated so we utilize any potential benefits from these treatments and respond to our patients’ considerable interest in and desire to utilize complementary and alternative medicine in their recovery.


Acupuncture Alternative medicine Complimentary medicine Eating disorders Herbal medicine Hypnosis Spiritual healing Substance use disorders Therapeutic massage Yoga 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological MedicineSydney Children’s Hospital Network, The University of SydneyWestmeadAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Complementary Medicine ResearchUniversity of Western SydneySydneyAustralia

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