Introducing Integrative Mental Health

Depression is a serious and costly health problem facing our country, with a quarter of the US population being affected.

These are terrible odds.

To date the most prevalent theory as to how and why depression occurs is the neurotransmitter theory. BUT not everyone responds to medications which boost neurotransmitters, like serotonin.  Only about half of patients respond to antidepressants, and those who do respond will likely experience relapse of depression within two years even if they are sticking to their treatment recommendations.

These are terrible odds.

The field of Integrative Mental Health considers other reasons for depression, such as an altered microbiome, chronic inflammation, hormones, mitochondrial dysfunction, dietary sensitivities, genetic mutations, and the role of neurogenesis.

Integrative Mental Health focuses on the whole person in order to promote recovery as holistically as possible from a mental health diagnosis. Integrative Medicine is synonymous with functional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine.

I’m so proud to announce that at the Lindner Center of HOPE, we are now offering Integrative Mental Health Medicine consults, to include genetic, micronutrient, thyroid, and metabolic testing with appropriate recommendations on lifestyle changes, including diet.

As Hippocrates famously said, “Let food be thy medicine.”

This is something I’ve been working on for almost a year, friends. I’m so happy my ideas are coming into the world! My hope is to serve this very vulnerable population as best I can.

Sources

Greenblatt, J. M. & Brogan, K. (2016). Integrative therapies for depression. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press

Mental Health Basics. (2013). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics.htm

  

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Anxiety and Faith

I had fun teaching a short class at my church on the topic of Anxiety and Faith.

I think Christians are pretty reluctant to seek mental health treatment. Why? Because somewhere along the line we were taught, either by church leaders or other Christians, that if we would just PRAY enough, or TRUST enough, or have enough FAITH, that God would heal us and formal mental health treatment shouldn’t be necessary.

The issue with this ideology is that when the healing doesn’t come, the insinuation is WE AREN’T WORTHY OF HEALING or that we are broken beyond repair or that God has left us. Seeking mental health treatment is then equated with failure.

Here’s another way of putting it:

“The absence of objective tests to unequivocally establish the presence of mental health conditions has led many church leaders to question the validity of mental health diagnoses … which attributes the presence of mental illness to personal sin.” Stephen Grcevich, MD.

This kick-starts a cycle of shame.

Anxiety is an emotion, not a sin.

HOWEVER, when uncontrolled I feel that anxiety can lead us to sin in the form of maladaptive coping skills.

Excessive Drinking.

Out-of-control shopping.

Affairs.

Basically anything we turn to for comfort and relief instead of God.

Anxiety drives a wedge between us and our creator.

Anxiety is a tactic from the enemy, a tool he uses to cause separation.

WE CANNOT LET ANXIETY WIN.

We must suffocate it, interrupt it, stomp it out.

In the next blog, I’ll share tips on how we can use our faith to combat our anxiety.

Stay tuned friends!

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