alexa Attitudes among Elderly towards Complementary and Alternative Medicine use as a Suicide Prevention Program in Korea: A Preliminary Study

Journal of Traditional Medicine & Clinical Naturopathy
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Research Article

Attitudes among Elderly towards Complementary and Alternative Medicine use as a Suicide Prevention Program in Korea: A Preliminary Study

Bethsaida Yanain Rojas1, Eric Richardson2, Dong-Hyun Ahn3*

1College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea.

2Graduate School of Biomedical Science & Engineering, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea.

3Department of Neuropsychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, Hanyang Center for Behavioral Development, Hanyang University, Seongdong-gu, Seoul, South Korea.

*Corresponding Author:
Dong-Hyun Ahn
Director, Department of Neuropsychiatry
Institute of Mental Health, Hanyang Inclusive Clinic for Development Disorders
Hanyang Center for Behavioral Development, College of Medicine
Hanyang University, 222-1, Wangsimni-ro, Seongdong-gu
Seoul, 04763, South Korea
Tel: 82-222908425, 82-1037449090
Fax: 82- 222909471
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: April 13, 2017; Accepted date: April 19, 2017; Published date: April 24, 2017

Citation: Rojas BY, Richardson E, Ahn DH (2017) Attitudes among Elderly towards Complementary and Alternative Medicine use as a Suicide Prevention Program in Korea: A Preliminary Study. J Tradit Med Clin Natur 6:216. doi: 10.4172/2167-1206.1000216

Copyright: © 2017 Ahn DH & Rojas BY, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.



Introduction: Suicide among Korean elderly persons continues to be a major issue, with most suicides being in the over 65 years old demographic population. It has the highest suicide rate of all Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries and ranking 31st out of 38 member nations in terms of overall life satisfaction. It is well known that depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most strongly associated with suicide; therefore, the aim of this research was to explore how to address depression using Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) among senior citizens.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 326 subjects aged 65 years and over, attending senior citizen halls located in Seoul, Korea. The survey instrument was designed to explore whether CAM is a good adjuvant in suicide prevention programs within senior citizen halls. Data entry was done by using Excel and exported to SPSS version 21.0 software package for analysis.

Results: Among 326 participants, 93.3% reported using one or more CAM modalities for depression-related outcomes. Prayer, traditional Korean medicine, sports, diet, medicinal herbs and fungi were the leading complementary and alternative therapies used to improve mood disorders. Almost half of respondents, 49.7% used some complementary health therapy while receiving conventional depressive treatment.

Conclusion: The findings support the urgent need to resolve the social problem of suicide among elderly population, especially isolated elders. CAM appears to be widely accepted and used by a high percentage of Korean elderly people to improve mood disorders. Most herbs were self-prescribed and undisclosed to health care providers. This result highlights the need of in-depth study into Complementary Health approaches and their potential effects as adjunctive treatment for elders at risk of suicide.


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