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“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” Buddha
Although brain and mental health are distinct diagnoses, they both can be treated successfully using a holistic approach that integrates modern medicine with natural therapies. Prescription medications (e.g. Prozac, Xanax, Wellbutrin, etc.) may help temporarily, but they often lose potency over time resulting in higher doses or the need for a new medication. In addition, they do not address the underlying imbalance or heal the body.
A variety of lab testing can help identify the root of the problem. For example, the intestines or “gut” are the primary storage of the brain neurotransmitter, Serotonin. Instead of having typical gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, nausea, or bloating, many people will experience fatigue, mood disorders, weight gain, or poor concentration if their serotonin levels are not optimal. Holistic doctors emphasize that to heal the brain, you must first heal the gut. This is not accomplished with prescription drugs. Specific functional medicine testing and analysis are used in designing individualized treatment regimens, which provide long-term holistic solutions to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Did you know that if the body was deprived of food and sleep a person would die first from lack of sleep rather than from hunger? In addition to being necessary to sustain life, sleep is essential for good overall health and the prevention of illness. Good quality sleep affects mood, energy, aging, mental health, weight, pain, sex drive, and hormone regulation.
Merge Medical Center has many different tools available to improve sleep. We use herbal medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, holistic nutrition, and nutraceuticals as options in our customized regimens.
ADD is rising in our population. Although less than 2% of America has ADD, over 5% of children and adolescents have it. That means, in the future, there will be a 200% increase in the occurrence of adults with ADD as these children age. What is happening to our brains?
Prescription medications for ADD (e.g. Adderall, Ritalin, etc.) are effective in managing the symptoms of ADD but don’t offer a long-term solution for this problem. Many times the key to improving attention span and mental clarity is healing the gastrointestinal tract and improving digestion. Also, there is increasing evidence that our toxic environment and lifestyle choices starting in childhood are contributing to this ADD epidemic. A comprehensive look at what is feeding the brain and what may be toxifying the brain is essential in the evaluation of ADD. This includes evaluations such as:
Drug use, whether from the past or present, depletes the brain of neurotransmitters and nutrients as well as disrupts beneficial bacterial counts in the intestines. This often leads to other conditions or symptoms, such as food cravings. Fortunately, addiction and its side effects often respond well to holistic therapies which aim to restore the body to its proper balance and provide support to individuals who want to break free from dependency on unhealthy substances.
When our body becomes imbalanced due to stress or disease, we must reverse it. Stress leads to elevated cortisol levels in our systems which affects our brain and mental health. Cortisol (our stress hormone) leads to increased inflammation and decreases our pH balance, which makes our bodies more acidic. Cortisol also decreases the hormonal action of our natural sex steroid hormones and thyroid hormone. Increased cortisol, inflammation, and decreased hormone action can lead to symptoms such as:
Stress reduction techniques are vital components of any program designed to help prevent, reduce and treat conditions of the brain. Simple techniques can include:
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