Aromatherapy in the Management of Psychiatric Disorders

 

 

        This week from October 1st - October 7th, 2017 is Mental Illness Awareness Week.  The National Alliance on Mental Illness and their participants across the country are raising awareness of mental illness. Each year they fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care.  So join the fight click on this link to their website - https://www.nami.org/miaw

 

 

     Individuals with psychiatric disorders are often treated with psychotherapeutic agents drugs, but other treatment options exist. One safe and effective adjunct for treatment of psychiatric disorders are aromatherapy. Specific essential oils when applied dermally or inhaled enters the blood stream exerts measurable psychological effects (Perry &  Perry 2006). Aromatherapy can provide treatment for psychiatric disorders that is free of the adverse effects associated with conventional drugs (Perry &  Perry 2006).  Essential oils used to reduce anxiety, improve mood, and reduce stress include bergamot, lemon, clary sage, lavender, Roman chamomile, geranium, rose otto, sandalwood, and jasmine (Butje, Repede, & Shattell 2008).  Olfactory stimulation causes immediate physiological changes in blood pressure, muscle tension, pupil size, skin temperature, skin blood flow, electrodermal activity, heart rate, brain wave patterns, and sleep/arousal states (Butje, Repede, & Shattell 2008).  Inhaled odors will activate the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, endorphins, and norepinephrine in the hypothalamic-pituitary axis and modulate neuroreceptors in the immune system, altering mood, reducing anxiety, and interrupting the stress response (Butje, Repede, & Shattell 2008).  When the use of essential oils  and it's individual constituents reach the blood, cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the central nervous system following inhalation and dermal application (Perry &  Perry 2006).

 


    In one abstract there is some evidence that massage is beneficial in reducing anxiety, depression and stress, and that aromatherapy can also lead to improvements in anxiety, depression and sleep patterns, independent of administration through massage (Brownsword & Baker 2008).  Aromatherapy and massage maybe a benefit to users of forensic psychiatric services and represent strategies by which users could manage their own experiences of mental distress and gain a greater sense of control, thought to be of central importance in the process of recovery (Brownsword & Baker 2008).


      Perry and Perry (2006) found that treatment with lavender or Melissa for agitation
in dementia compared favorably with the use of commonly prescribed antipsychotic drugs.  They confirm that in vitro and in vivo studies in animals show that certain essential oils have anxiolytic, sedative and anticonvulsant actions or central nervous system stimulant effects relevant to symptoms such as agitation, sleeplessness, anxiety, and lethargy which are common symptoms of many mental disorders.

 


    In an abstract article by Butje, Repede, & Shattell (2008) reported a study that shown the effects of nine essential oils on anxiety and depression in 32 acute care psychiatric patients. The study compared levels of depression and anxiety in a control group receiving the massage with the carrier oil and an experimental group receiving essential oils diluted in carrier oil during a massage. The group receiving the massage with essential oils showed significantly more improvement in scores on depression, anxiety, and severity of emotional symptoms than did those receiving massage alone.

 


    The accessibility, low cost, and low side effect profile make aromatherapy attractive for managing emotional distress and psychiatric disorders (Butje, Repede, & Shattell 2008). As the popularity of the usage of essential oils rises, there will be a tremendous need for further research in this area of aromatherapy.  Currently, there is only limited evidence for the efficacy of pure aromatherapy for the treatment of specific mental disorders (Van Der Watt & Janca  2008).

 

 

 

A Special Shout Out to Wendy and Jess of Food Heaven Made Easy! The both of you have made my day with this!  Everyone, check out their website www.foodheavenmadeeasy.com and check out the article about me  https://buff.ly/2yBJSKI   

These ladies ROCK! 


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References 


Brownsword, A & Baker, E. (2008). Can massage and aromatherapy benefit the users of forensic psychiatric services? In The British Journal of Forensic Practice (vol. 10:1 p. 12-16). Bingley, United Kingdom: Pier Professional Ltd.  http://search.proquest.com/docview/213072269?accountid=158302


Butje, A., Repede, E., & Shattell, M., (2008). Healing Scents: An Overview of Clinical Aromatherapy for Emotional Distress.  Journal of Psychosocial Nursing & Mental Health Services (vol 46:10, p. 46-52).  Thorofare, United States: Slack Incorporated.  http://search.proquest.com/docview/225537754?accountid=158302


Perry, N. &  Perry, E. (2006) Aromatherapy in the Management of Psychiatric Disorders. CNS Drug 2006. (20:4 p. 257-280) Tyne, United Kingdom: Aids Data Information BV 


Van Der Watt, G. & Janca, A. (2008) Aromatherapy in nursing and mental health care. Contemporary Nurse, (30:1 p. 69–75) Maleny, United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis Ltd.  http://search.proquest.com/docview/203159502?accountid=158302
 

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