Over 6 million Americans have diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder.
Over 16 million Americans have diagnosed major depression.
Over 5 million Americans have diagnosed bipolar disorder.
Over 3 million Americans have diagnosed schziphorenia.
More undiagnosed individuals are living and struggling with mental illness. The past 20 years have seen a steady increase in suicide rates. Traditional mental health issues are cared for with a combination of therapy and pharmaceutical antidepressant/antipsychotic drugs like SSRIs.
However, these lab formulated drug cocktails are proving to not be the answer. The body does not lack artificially created chemicals but instead needs natural nutrients to replenish bodily deficiencies. This is what makes functional medicine an effective method for healing. Instead of pumping medication into the body to alleviate symptoms, functional medicine focuses on fixing the root cause of the issue.
Evidence has shown how the mind affects the health of the body, and visa versa — one study links poor gut health to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The science community is discovering more indications that health areas like toxicity, nutritional deficiencies, blood sugar control, and more internal factors play a significant role in brain chemistry.
By addressing these chemical imbalances naturally, functional medicine is able to help assist with mental health concerns that traditional medical care misses the mark on.
How Does Functional Medicine Address Mental Health Issues?
Functional medicine understands how highly individual mental illness is. Nearly 50 percent of Americans will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime, and the same exact struggles will not be continuously equal for all individuals — therefore, a selective personal plan is necessary to successfully address the disease.
Where pharmaceuticals deliver a cookie-cutter pill as the solution, functional medicine looks to solve the issue from the inside out. A possible mental illness solution begins with testing. Examining the body’s levels of key nutrients, cell counts, and organ function can spot deficiencies that may be responsible for depression, anxiety, etc.
Depending upon the individual’s case, areas such as: diet, detoxification, counseling, stress and relationship management, exercise, and nutrient supplementation may be explored. Increasing food intake that increases dopamine and serotonin production can be a possible first stepping stone to helping improve mental illness. Complex carbohydrates, B6 foods, and omega 3 rich foods have shown to provide a boost to these mood controlling neurotransmitters.
Specific beneficial foods include:
- Protein-rich foods (turkey, eggs. legumes)
- L-dopa foods (velvet beans)
- Bromelain foods (pineapples)
- Tryptophan foods (dark green leafy vegetables)
Low levels of a variety of B and C vitamins have also been linked to mental illness. Thus, the implementation of nutrient supplements has shown signs of improving the health of individuals. Once the testing deficiencies have been looked at and altered, other lifestyle factors can be investigated in their role with an individual’s mental illness struggles. Functional medicine aims to look at a holistic view when it comes to disease. While mental illness is a common ailment, current medical practice appears to be erroring on the treatment method. Functional medicine can help assist with mental health problems by address the problem at its source — the body.
Looking for Mental Health Help?
Mental health solutions are not one size fits all, and therefore require a personalized plan. Once the cause is identified, Dr. Goodbiner and staff can begin to develop a specialized plan to improve your daily struggles.
Whether that involves creating an entirely new diet regiment, developing a nutrient supplement plan, or impacting other lifestyle factors — The Epigenetics Healing Center will help improve your mental health struggles. Schedule an appointment today, and let’s get to the bottom of this.
Dr. Jay Goodbinder ND DC DABCI is a doctor in Overland Park, KS who serves patients in surrounding Kansas City areas, cities across the United States, and in several countries around the world.