Nourishing Mental Health and Wellness
More than positive moods, thoughts, and feelings, mental wellness describes the ability of the mind to demonstrate resilience as it adapts to various sources of stimuli and stress. Simply put, mental wellness is our ability to adjust to and recover from life’s stressors.
The stress we endure takes many forms. As human beings, we experience the daily stresses of satisfying hunger and thirst, keeping a neutral body temperature, fulfilling our need to feel safe, and maintaining emotional balance. The emotional or stressful events we experience can manifest as real physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, constipation, and body pain, and when our ability to appropriately adapt to and handle stress is overwhelmed, symptoms of anxiety and depression can occur. In the last several years of living in our world, we have seen stress levels pushed to the limit, testing our ability to cope and adapt. We have all endured a time of great change.
These global changes and our human response to them inspired a shift in the way I think of health and healing and the way I practice medicine. When in for their medical visits, I found that patients preferred to share more about what was happening with their inner experience of living and their ability to cope than about any physical symptoms they may have been experiencing.
From both adults and children, I heard their need to create stability in their lives, their need for inner strength to endure their mental and emotional confusion, and their need for self-esteem and self-awareness to help guide them through the decisions they faced. I also heard their need to be seen and understood and to know they were not alone, as well as their need for someone to help them make sense of their inner experiences. Today, helping others to satiate these needs and to make sense of their lives from an inner world perspective inspires the healing work that I love to do.
When discussing mental wellness on the physical plane, I am referring to the health and metabolic function of the brain itself. Mental wellness can be affected by physical agents like food and medication, environmental agents like molds and heavy metals, and emotional events like trauma and abuse. Mental wellness can also be affected by injuries to the brain from traumatic brain injury (TBI), concussion, and stroke. Mental wellness determines our capacity to cope, endure, problem solve, make decisions, and make sense of the various stimuli that we are exposed to on a moment-to-moment basis.
NaturoMedica’s Integrative Approach to Mental Health and Wellness
At NaturoMedica, our integrative approach to mental health and wellness follows the principles of traditional Naturopathic Medicine. We spend time listening and learning about your experience and understanding of it, we seek to identify the underlying cause or causes of your symptoms, and we treat you as an individual rather than as a diagnosis.
While mental illness is often attributed to an imbalance of neurochemicals in the brain, this is just one of the components that can affect mental health. As Naturopathic Physicians, we look beyond brain chemistry when treating patients with mental health symptoms. For instance, hormone deficiencies and imbalances deeply affect mental health and can leave people feeling like they are in an ever-changing ocean of emotional waves. Stress, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, metabolic issues, and insomnia can provoke or exacerbate symptoms of mental illness. Even prescription medication or combinations of medications can cause mental health symptoms to worsen. In addition, inflammation and poor liver function can also have a direct effect on the function of the brain by affecting memory and the ability to think.
When addressing symptoms of mental health and wellness, we provide holistic and personalized care with treatments plans designed to address your specific needs. NaturoMedica offers specialized testing, counseling, acupuncture, craniosacral therapy, nutritional guidance, supplements, and IV nutrient therapy. Our physicians can also prescribe medication when necessary.
To assist with discovering and identifying any underlying cause for changes in mental health, NaturoMedica offers standard and specialty lab tests. The types of testing we use depend on the individual and their specific needs. First, we look at basic labs to determine overall health. Low iron, deficiencies in vitamin B12 and vitamin D, and poor thyroid function can present with symptoms of depression. When warranted, we offer advanced functional medicine laboratory testing to assess neurotransmitter imbalances, hormone levels, food allergies and sensitivities, GI function, adrenal function, and cognitive markers. We can also check for environmental toxins and pollutants in the body (e.g., heavy metals and pesticides) as well as for molds, candida, and bacterial overgrowth.
At NaturoMedica, our purpose is to assist you in leading your best life, and our goal is to help you heal and stay healthy. If you find it difficult to sleep, concentrate, or relax, or if you are consumed by excessive worry, sadness, or feelings of hopelessness, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our NaturoMedica physicians to determine appropriate testing and treatments options for you.
Mental health and wellness are the foundation of overall health, and I am here to help you restore balance and nourish your well-being. I am excited to be practicing at NaturoMedica, and I look forward to meeting you.