How Can I Know If an Alternative Treatment Is Safe and Effective?
Alternative treatments can be helpful in some cases, yet some therapies can be ineffective, costly, and even dangerous. The best way to evaluate your options is to become educated. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is the treatment?
- What does it involve?
- How does it work?
- Why does it work?
- Are there any risks?
- What are the side effects?
- Is it effective? (Ask for evidence or proof.)
- How much does it cost?
Once you answer these questions, weigh your options and decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks.
If you do decide to try an alternative treatment, make sure your health is protected. Do not take the claim at face value: contact reliable organizations and discuss the therapy. Talk to others in a support group, your family and friends; although they may not always be supportive, they can help you make an educated, objective decision.
Discuss the therapy with your doctor. Make sure your doctor knows what therapy you are considering so he or she can discuss possible interactions and/or side effects with your current treatments. He or she can also provide you with information on other patients who may have tried the same therapy.