The goal of holistic mental health is to reach a state of being where someone feels comfortable with who they are and has a purpose in life.
Everyone experiences ups and downs, but when these challenges last long enough or become too frequent, it can have a negative impact on your overall well-being.
Untreated mental health challenges can lead you to experience risk factors such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, self-harm, or suicide.
There are many ways through which you can manage your mental health without relying on drugs and medication.
Causes of Mental Illness
There are several known factors that contribute to mental imbalances. These factors range from genetics to brain chemistry, trauma, short or long term excessive stress and environmental factors. Additionally, in times of stress, the body produces various hormones, including cortisol, that may be dangerous to one’s mental well-being.
There are other hormones, such as adrenaline and norepinephrine, that can have a negative effect on your mental health as well. Chemicals like these, designed to make one stay alert during a life-threatening situation, can actually cause chaos if the adrenals are on high alert too much of the time.
The holistic mental health approach also considers poor sugar management as a major contributor to mental health problems. It’s also a contributor to the health problems of the rest of the body too, from a life spent too much eating sugar or refined carbohydrates.
Starchy foods (grains, potatoes, pasta) break down rapidly into sugars, and are no better.
Another major contributor is nutrition. Generally, most people don’t eat a nutritious diet of whole foods, such as produce grown on soil deficient in important micronutrients.
Holistic Mental Health: What Types of Illness Can Be Addressed?
There is a belief in the psychiatric community that with mental illness the brain is irretrievably damaged and only psychiatric drugs can help.
The holistic mental health approach incorporates the right kind of counseling along side multivitamin/mineral and essential fatty acid support, and elimination of the brain/hormone-changing, sugary Standard American Diet (SAD). This approach can make improvements way beyond what can happen with suppressive psychiatric medicines, which truthfully just suppress the symptoms of mental illness.
Here are some types of mental illness that can be effectively treated with a holistic mental health approach that joins naturopathic and counseling methods.
I’m not saying they’re all curable, but they can be better managed, sometimes eliminated entirely or vastly reduced in frequency and intensity.
- Anxiety/panic/PTSD: (varies in causes and how it manifests)
- Depression (varies from mild to severe, and can be situationally dependent, or generalized)
- Phobias: Characterized by mild or extreme reactions to normal daily activities or objects.
- Eating Disorders: Often called Anorexia or Bulimia, Binge Eating or other unspecified issues associated with eating.
- Bi-Polar Disorder: Moods often swing from too much energy, manic behavior, to fatigue, mental fog, sadness.
- Schizophrenia: Can be characterized by psychosis (delusions, hallucinations), disorganized thinking/speech, not feeling ‘connected’ to what you are feeling or other people, disinterest in the world around you, difficult concentration. Thinking about this imbalance has changed much over the years, and it may be more than one problem, could be overlapping problems.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Inability to discontinue patterns that are unnecessary, useless and bothersome (ie: counting your steps, continually rechecking things you’ve done to verify, overwashing of hands, etc).
- ADD, ADHD: Inability to focus, follow through on projects, paying attention in school or work is frustrating, easily distracted, excessive inability to be at peace, calm and relaxed when appropriate.
What Nutrients Are Important to the Holistic Mental Illness Approach?
Correct nutrition is vital to improve and maintain mental balance. When the neurotransmitters in the brain are produced or corrected by proper nutrition, co-enzymes are available, hormones are more balanced, and metabolic functions are improved.
The basics for supporting brain health are: calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, B-complex, niacin (a b-vitamin needing to work within the B-complex matrix), vitamin C.
If all of these nutrients are available in relatively high quantities in a food-sourced multivitamin/mineral, then chances are only a bit of tweaking of dosing is needed with the niacin and the vitamin C.
Holistic practitioners who are well versed in the art of determining nutrient deficiencies, healthful eating and effective hydration, detoxification, and essential nutritional supplementation have a long history of providing outstanding results.
Additionally, homeopathy is helpful in supporting this return to mental homeostasis or at least vast improvements.
Harsh Chemicals Are Usually Not the Only Possible Solution
Naturopathy can provide you with a gentle approach if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental illness challenges.
A good dietary protocol is key to any success though. We are not treating symptoms.
A good counselor on board with a naturopath who knows how to deal nutritionally with the client can achieve apparent miracles. Naturopathy looks beyond physical symptoms to include emotional ones which may need addressing too.
If you find yourself or a loved one struggling mentally, the holistic mental health approach to treating mental imbalances may be preferable to the traditional pharmaceutical based approach.
Dr Michelle Johnson has a long and successful history of helping her patients holistically treat their physical, emotional and mental health imbalances.
If you’re interested in exploring a wellness path other than one based on harsh chemicals, contact Dr. Johnson at (702) 240-3533 to schedule a consultation.