Having mental health disorders does not mean someone is crazy or weak-minded or merely lacking self-control. Addiction, depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. are diseases of toxicity, infection, nervous system dysregulation, innate beliefs, gut disorders, trauma, immune system dysfunction, and so on! Just like every other human disease, mental health deserves a complete investigation into the “why” so that effective treatments can be undertaken to bring about resolution.
So, what do we do? How do we get there?
We put on our investigator hats and we look deeper. We use evidence-based and clinically proven herbs, supplements, and medications. We address the lifestyle, the belief systems, community, and behaviors. We look at the whole person and treat the whole person.
I am learning how to do this specifically for mental health! I am super excited to announce that I have joined a year-long fellowship program to study Integrative Psychiatry. In this program, we learn to follow a holistic map of healing mental health disorders. This map teaches us to look at the many different things that affect mental health, and that these areas need to be identified and addressed for every patient.
This is a holistic, functional medicine approach to mental health.
We will learn to address four areas that affect EVERYONE’S mental health:
Lifestyle: all of the things you know you “should” do. This area highlights the importance of self-care and includes nutrition, exercise, relationships, sleep, and habits. My job is to educate and coach a patient into optimizing all of these areas. It is difficult to motivate patients (and yourself) to do these things, especially when you are not feeling well, but this area, like I have been shouting from my soapbox for years, is absolutely essential for health in general- including mental health.
Body: all the things a doctor “should” do for you! Every doctor needs to be looking for the underlying causes of all disease in the body, including a mental health problem. Just because mental health involves feelings and behaviors, it should not be classified as some mysterious, unsolvable, issue. There is ample evidence that mental health disorders can be caused by immune system dysregulation (autoimmunity, infection, and inflammation), the gut-brain axis (microbiome, dysbiosis, leaky gut), metabolic regulation (hormones, blood sugar, genetics), brain function (trauma, neurodegeneration, mitochondrial function), and toxicity (metals, drugs and alcohol, biotoxins).
Mind: the current area of focus when it comes to psychiatric disorders needs to continue to play an essential part of healing. Here is where we talk about trauma which can literally be anything- a single event, complex traumas, and dissociation. Trauma is an essential part of why we are who we are and is MUCH more common than we might think. Our beliefs, which can also come from unrecognized sources, also have an enormous impact on how we think, how we behave, and how we interact with the world around us.
Spirit: We subscribe to the idea that humans are a vessel for consciousness moving within the physical world. Obtaining the awareness of that consciousness through the use of mediation, traditional medicinals (like psychedelics), psychotherapy, and breathwork, can be extremely helpful. The spiritual connectedness can allow people to create a more profound understanding of their place in the world and be profoundly healing.
While I am learning, I will be implementing these skills into my practice. I hope to focus my practice on healing the mental health of those in our community. Using a holistic, integrative approach, I think that we can make a big difference!
Give me a call and let’s start working together to solve your mental health disorder mystery.
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