Acceptance Toward the use of Micronutrients as an Alternative Treatment for Mood Disorders
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The World Health Organisation predicts that by 2020 depression will be the second highest cause of death and disability in the world (World Health Organisation, 2010). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been found to be the most suitable antidepressant for first-line treatment of a mood disorder (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2004), but less than half of all individuals achieve complete remission after therapy with a single antidepressant. Others display partial or intolerant responses to treatment (Nemeroff & Owens, 2002). This emphasises a need to develop alternative treatment options. There is evidence that micronutrients have fewer side effects than antidepressants (Dalmiya, Darnton-Hill, Schyltink & Shrimpton, 2009). Kaplan, Crawford, Field and Simpson (2007) suggest that errors in metabolism may result in unstable mood, leading to possible mood disorders. Mutation of metabolism is correctable by giving the malnourished individual additional vitamins thereby correcting metabolism and creating a more stable mood. An online survey completed by 661 participants (141 males, 520 females) assessed acceptance levels towards the use of micronutrients as an alternative treatment for mood disorders. As predicted, healthcare and medical professionals scored lower in acceptance (t(659)=3.12, p=0.002) and people who lead healthy lifestyles scored higher in acceptance (r=0.105, n=658, p <0.05). There were no significant effects of gender (t(659) =1.74, p=0.082), experience with mood disorders (F(3, 657)=0.86, p=0.46) or low household incomes (r=-0.066, n=661, p<0.05). Treatment users and providers alike seek more knowledge about the effectiveness of micronutrients and acceptance of micronutrients is largely granted on the basis of a combination treatment with conventional methods. The study is limited by an overrepresentation of females in the sample.