Homeopathic Research Study on Depression

 In Naturopathic News

Node Smith, ND

Effectiveness of Homeopathy as Adjunctive Care for Depression

A recent trial was published on the effectiveness of homeopathy as adjunctive care for depression.1 Even though there is controversy regarding homeopathy, many patients consult homeopaths for depression. There is much anecdotal evidence to support the use of homeopathy in this, as well as many other capacities, yet clinical trials are lacking. This study provides some of this lacking evidence.

Homeopathy & Depression Study

The study was a cohort multiple randomized controlled trial with 2 outcome measurements – the Patient Health Questionaire (PHQ-9) and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder metric (GAD-7). Outcomes were assessed at 6 months and 12 months, for a total study length of 1 year.

566 participants were included in the study. Forty percent were randomized into a group to receive homeopathic treatment, the remainder were not.

The homeopathic treatment was given by 7 homeopaths in South Yorkshire. Practitioners were instructed to practice as they usually do, and no restrictions were put on the length/frequency of consultations or medicines they prescribed.

Results

The results were not incredibly strong, but did show a slight benefit from homeopathic treatment. At 6 months there was a 1.4-point lower mean depression score (PHQ-9) noted for the homeopathic treatment group compared to control with a small standardized treatment effect size (d=0.30).  Using instrumental variables analysis, a moderate treatment effect size in favor of those treated was found (d = 0.57) with a between group difference of 2.6 points. The results were maintained through the secondary outcome evaluation at 12 months, and GAD-7 results were similar.

Source:

  1. Viksveen P, Relton C, Nicholl J. Depressed patients treated by homeopaths: a randomised controlled trial using the “cohort multiple randomised controlled trial” (cmRCT) design. Trials. 2017;18(1):299.
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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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