Improving Your Mental Health
With anxiety, depression, and mental health illnesses (including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, ADHD, etc.) skyrocketing these past few years, it is very interesting to learn why so many people suffer from different mental health issues and why it is so prominent in this day and age. It can be due to so many different factors including genes, environmental toxins, drugs/alcohol interference, micronutrient deficiencies, etc. Mainstream doctors usually prescribe patients SSRI’s (increasing serotonin levels in your brain), SNRI’s (increasing serotonin and norepinephrine levels in your brain), antipsychotics, stimulants, and mood stabilizers. There are many numerous problems with our current system in treating mental health ranging from over diagnosis to treating of symptoms only.
Functional Medicine approaches mental health in a completely different way than most doctors. We do not want to just throw pills at you and hope your depressive symptoms improve. We do not want to keep you on medications that have debilitating side effects that effect your day to day function. Like treating most other issues, we treat mental health in a similar way.
Managing Your Mental Wellness
Testing your neurotransmitter levels is one of the most important steps in your treatment plan. Instead of guessing if a treatment plan works for you, we test the amount of each known neurotransmitter in your brain, supplement the precursors for your low levels, and detoxify the precursors for the high levels. The precursors to your neurotransmitters are amino acids. Each amino acid needs specific enzymes to turn into/increase specific neurotransmitters. By increasing specific amino acids, they will increase your low neurotransmitter production.
Changing your diet will be very important to helping decrease and maintain optimal mental health. Eating specific foods like sugars and carbs are linked to increased depressive moods and anxiety. Eliminating these foods along with increasing other amino acid-rich foods is a crucial part of the protocol.
Healing your gut is a common trend we see in functional medicine, especially when it comes to mental health. With gut dysfunction, inability to digest foods, low stomach acid, etc. it will be difficult to absorb your essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.